Fall Prevention

Why do falls happen?

In 2004, the most recent year statistics are available, almost 15,000 people 65 and older died from falls and about 1.9 million were treated for injuries in emergency rooms.

1 in 3 over 65 have a fall each year, 70% of accidental deaths in people over 75 are caused by falls.

Falls are responsible for over 40% of nursing home admissions.

Injuries from falls in the elderly can include broken wrists, elbows, arms and hips.

Falling can be caused by many factors:
* Internal factors such as slowed reflexes, balance disorders, low blood pressure, visual deficits, etc.
* External factors such as poor lighting, poor room layout, the effects of medications.

What can be done?
* Make an assessment of the risk you have by answering the questions below:
* Add up your score on a separate paper or print this page.
* Read information listed at bottom of this page on prevention.

60-70 Years 1
71-80 Years 2
80 and up 3
Hospitalization in the past 12 months
No 0
Yes 1
Mental Acuity
Forgetful 1
Impulsive 2
Disoriented 3
Gait & Mobility
No assisted devices 0
Use cane/walker 1
Loss of Balance/Weaknes
Occasionally 1
Often 2
Fall in last 3 months 3
Sense of Urgency 1
Require Assistance 2
Incontinence 3
Anti-depressants or medications that may impair thought
process, cause vertigo, lower blood pressure, cause nervous
system alterations
Laxatives or diuretics 2
Total Points

0-5 = Low Risk
6-8= Moderate Risk
8+ = High Risk


* Tell your doctor about any falls you have taken.
* Talk with your doctor and pharmacist about medications you take.
* Inspect your home for any safety problems such as lighting, flooring, and furniture.
* Make your home safer by installing night lights, bathroom grab bars and slip-resistant floors.
* In addition to strength exercising certain exercises — yoga, tai chi, and trying to balance on one leg with your eyes closed — can help improve balance.

American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
National Athletic Trainers' Association
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Injury

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