Live well with Osler

10 good habits to reduce your risk of falling

Everybody has tripped, stumbled, slipped or tumbled – or maybe even done all four – at some point in their lives. But for people aged 65 and older, taking a fall can be more serious and can lead to dangerous health problems.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, falls are the leading cause of injury for seniors, with 20 to 30 per cent of Canadian seniors having at least one fall each year. In fact, falls cause 85 per cent of injury-related hospitalizations for seniors, and 50 per cent of falls resulting in hospitalizations happen at home.

To help reduce your risk of a fall, here are a few good habits to pick up:

Take it easy!

Slow down and take your time when walking. Be aware of your surroundings and sidewalks, especially if you are chatting with a companion. 

Healthy habits:

Eat well, stay hydrated and exercise regularly to keep your body healthy and happy. Join a walking or exercise group to make it fun!

Know your medications:

Know how and when to take them. Ask your physician or pharmacist if your medications can cause dizziness or make you prone to falling.

Sole decision:

Treat your feet with sturdy, comfortable, non-slip footwear.

Tidy up:

Most falls happen at home. Check your home for slipping or tripping hazards like cluttered steps and doorways, icy walkways and slippery floors. 

Check it out:

Make sure you are aware of obstacles in your path by having your vision and hearing checked regularly. Wear glasses and hearing aids if prescribed.

Light it up:

Rather than stumble in the dark, turn on the lights, plug in a nightlight or use a flashlight to light your way.

Equip yourself to be safe:

Canes, walkers, hand rails and grab bars can help you stay steady on your feet.

Watch your step:

When walking outside or in unfamiliar areas, keep an eye out for any tripping or slipping hazards ahead. Always have at least one hand free for stair railings. 

No one plans to fall:

Pay attention to the times you almost fell and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re worried about falling.

Resource Center

Helpful links to the most useful lists and forms for health professionals.

Connect with Osler