How To Prevent Falling

How to prevent a fall is something everyone should know.
How to prevent a fall is something everyone should know. | Source

Falling is a reality of life when one gets older and being proactive about preventing falls can go a long way to keeping you alive, active, healthy and strong, can add enjoyable years to your life and most importantly, can keep you independent.

The seriousness of falling impacted me personally when, in the space of a few weeks, I had my mother-in-law fall backwards down an escalator and both my mother and father fall in separate incidents. Luckily they all only suffered minor injuries – a black eye, facial cuts, a sprained wrist and a bruised head and shoulder. The worst damage that was done was to their loss of confidence and to how it impacted and restricted their lives and their independence.

These three separate incidents set me on a mission to discover how to prevent falling and to ensure that my parents and those of many others remain safe and fall-free from hereon forward.

As it turns out, this is a general trend and the statistics are not very encouraging:

  • A third of older persons fall every year and more than half of them more than once.
  • Because of underlying conditions such as osteoporosis, a fall can result in hip or leg fractures, head injuries or even death.
  • Accidents are the 5th most common cause of death among the elderly.

What is scary about these statistics is that there is a lot that can be done to prevent this; all that is required is a willingness to do something about out it and an open mind.

How To Prevent A Fall

There are two approaches that have to be taken simultaneously if you are thinking about preventing falls. The first is preventative measures and the second is physical interventions.

Let us first have a look at the preventative measures.

Major causes of falling can be attributed to a person’s physical health or to their medication.
Major causes of falling can be attributed to a person’s physical health or to their medication.

1. Visit Your Physician

A few major causes of falling can be attributed to a person’s physical health or to the medication they are taking.

Check Your Medication

Consult your physician to review your medication especially any psychotropic medication for any potential causes of falling. Your physician should also review if you have any medical condition that could cause falling.

This may sound obvious but often the most obvious causes are overlooked and a fall could have easily been prevented by a simple check up.

Check Your Blood Pressure

Both low and high blood pressure could be a cause of falls. Blood pressure irregularities may cause dizziness, blurry vision and even blackouts. This was the main cause for both my mother and mother-in-laws falls. Have your physician check and then treat your condition appropriately.

2. Review Your Home And Yard Areas For Danger

Check your home for areas where you could be vulnerable to falls. You should check areas such as baths, stairs and slippery floors. Install non-slip tiles on all slippery surfaces and rails to assist you in the bath, shower or stairs.

Tidy up your home so you don’t bump or trip over things and rearrange the furniture to facilitate easy movement through your home, especially in the areas and directions that you frequently move in.

In your yard, driveway or garden look for stones or other things sticking out that you can fix or else find a way to avoid tripping over these obstacles.

A key to preventing falling is having your eyes checked regularly.
A key to preventing falling is having your eyes checked regularly. | Source

3. Check Your Eyes

Another obvious statement but most people suffer from loss of vision as they get older. Macular Degeneration is also common in older people and a big cause of accidents and falls. My father’s fall was caused because of this as he has lost all peripheral vision in his eyes as well as depth perception which caused him to misstep and fall.

Macular Degeneration is permanent and mostly irreversible, however great progress has been made in this field and various treatments such as Avastin injections in the eye are now prescribed to reduce the damage.

Also make sure that you get your eyes checked regularly and that you change your prescription glasses as often as is necessary.

4. Change Your Shoes

The type of shoes that you wear can be another cause of falling. Ensure that your shoes are flat and comfortable and that they give you good traction when stepping. Trainers or a similar type of shoe should suffice.

You can prevent most falls with simple strategies like these.

Lifestyle Changes That Will Prevent Falling

The following points are examples of physical interventions and lifestyle changes that will go a long way to not only prevent falls but also to improve the quality of your life in other ways.

Prevent falls by staying active and agile.
Prevent falls by staying active and agile. | Source

1. Be Active

If you have fallen before, there is a tendency to reduce your mobility and become even more careful. In actual fact what you should be doing is the exact opposite – you should move more not less.

Exercises that develop leg and hip strength, agility and balance are great for preventing falls and can be learned, and benefited from, at any age.

2. Weight Training

As odd as this may sound, weight training is great for people of any age and will be effective regardless of your previous experience and current physical condition. Weight training will develop better balance and agility, strengthen muscles and bones and add another 10 energetic years to your life.

It doesn’t matter what age you are or how strong you think you have to be. Edith Odoms was 90 years old and had already suffered a stroke and a broken hip when her children showed her the Body-For-Life Challenge, a twelve week weight training program to transform your body.

Edith competed in and completed the full 12 week challenge and five years later was walking, going to the gym five times per week and taking martial arts classes.

She said that her next goal was to make 100 and then she will review her goals again.

Weight Training - One Of The Best Ways To Treat Osteoporosis

One of the main reasons why the elderly hurt themselves in a fall is due to osteoporosis. An added benefit of weight training is its positive effect on osteoporosis.

The weight bearing exercises strengthen and thicken your bones and will keep you standing and walking up straight and put a bounce in your step.

3. Tai Chi

The practice of the gentle Chinese martial art of Tai Chi Chuan has been proven to reduce falls by up to 47%. It is very gentle and easy on the body as it consists of very slow and gentle movements. It restores health and energy and increases your leg strength, balance and agility.

Any form of physical activity can go a long way in keeping you strong and thus preventing falls.
Any form of physical activity can go a long way in keeping you strong and thus preventing falls. | Source

4. Just Keep Moving

The key here is to keep moving. Certainly, weight training and Tai Chi are some of the best things that you can do to strengthen yourself so you will know how to prevent a fall, but as long as you move, anything will be good for you.

You might prefer ballroom dancing, yoga or swimming. Anything is better than nothing and as long as there is a progressive increase in your strength and agility it will be good for you and will ensure that you know how to prevent falling.

5. Optimism, The Final Key

Everybody falls.

When a child falls they assume it is natural. Yet when we grow up, we start to admonish ourselves every time we fall. When we get along in years, because of the dangers associated with falling, we tend to beat ourselves up even more if we fall.

Optimism is therefore your final key to keeping yourself healthy and strong. Even if you fall, accept that is just a part of life.

A Japanese proverb says “fall down seven, get up eight”.

Develop the ability to get up, dust yourself off and go about your life and if you do get hurt, endeavour to recover and get even stronger.

Don’t Let The Fear Of Falling Slow You Down

It’s never too late or too early to improve how you stand, walk and move. In doing this you will also improve your health, your strength and your optimism. Knowing how to prevent falling is the first step in maintaining your independence; and don’t let anyone tell you you’re too old...

Have a look at Ernestine Shepherd in the video below who took up competitive bodybuilding at age 58 and know that you can do anything at any age.

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Comments 14 comments

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

Excellent hub Trinity! Very informative and helpful to many people. Thank you for creating this. Voted and shared!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

Well, Trinity, you are hitting a little close to home now. :) I am sixty-three and I have been blessed with excellent health. I have always been active so this sort of thing as of yet does not apply but....but....it is in the back of my mind as each year passes. So I started yoga, and Tai Chi is the next thing I will begin.

Great hub, very informative and well-worth the read.


Trinity M profile image

Trinity M 4 years ago Author

Hi Sunshine! Thank YOU for spreading a little sunshine my way. I am glad you enjoyed my hub and I so appreciate your support. Thank you. :)

Hello billybuc my dear friend. I am a firm believer that age is only something we use to track our experiences. You are quite obviously a very active, energetic and open minded man who is living life to the fullest. Ultimately that is all that is required to prevent getting old and rickety and to prevent falls from happening. If the mind and spirit remains strong the body will follow suit. Thank you so much for your unwavering support; it is always appreciated. :)


ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Great hub Trinity, such an important concept. Last year my dad fell down a flight of stairs and it was very scary. When the head gets hit it really can be serious. I like that you say to just keep moving and to be optimistic. I vote up!


Trinity M profile image

Trinity M 4 years ago Author

Sorry to hear about your dad Christy; you are so right, it can really be scary. When my mother-in-law fell down the escalator at our local mall I nearly had a heart attack, and when my dad fell, he fell face 1st and was walking around looking like he’d been beaten up. Keeping them both active and positive has gone a long way in keeping them healthy and in preventing falls from happening again. Thank you so much for your support and for your vote.


ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Thanks Trinity for sharing those experiences with me. It is hard to see them looking frail. Hugs to you.


Trinity M profile image

Trinity M 4 years ago Author

Christy, that’s the worst thing about parents aging; it’s watching their increasing frailty. Thank you for the hugs and for always being so supportive, I really appreciate you.


DDE profile image

DDE 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

One becomes fragile and are most vulnerable to falls


Trinity M profile image

Trinity M 4 years ago Author

That is so true DDE; this is why it is so important to remain active as we age and to take as many precautions as possible to prevent falling if we can. Thank you so much for stopping by and for your comments.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

I just fell the other day due to my not paying attention to where I was going. I felt foolish, also had on flip flops that caught on the edge of a brick. Glad you posted this, I will need to tack it to my mirror!


Trinity M profile image

Trinity M 4 years ago Author

Hi teaches1245 nice to see you again! I’m so sorry to hear about your fall, I hope that you didn’t get hurt. Just remember don’t be too hard on yourself, accidents do happen and they happen to all of us. I hope the tips in my hub help you to prevent falling again in the future. I do appreciate your comment and your support. Do take care and keep smiling. :)


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Trinity, a very valuable hub. We need to be more active as we age to slow down the effects of aging but we do the opposite and meet with some real bad results.

Thanks for sharing some wonderful ideas to prevent falling.

Voted up, useful and shared.


KDuBarry03 4 years ago

Very valuable and insightful, Trinity. I've been getting more into yoga lately and it has been greatly beneficial. As soon as we all can, it is best to get more physically active to prevent falling.


Trinity M profile image

Trinity M 4 years ago Author

Hi Rajan, I so agree with you, instead of getting or staying active when we got older we tend to stop doing things and this just makes us feel worse and precipitates problems like falling. Thank you so much for stopping by and for your wonderful support. Take care and have a great day :)

Hi soccer-world, thanks for your comment. :)

Hi KDuBarry, nice to see you. Yoga is wonderful, I enjoy it very much too, and it is something that we can do as we get older. I know a yoga teacher who is 90 who tells me that she likes giving classes to all the “oldies” who are 65 and over! Thank you so much for stopping by and for your support. :)

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