Your Checklist to Prevent Falls and Fractures at Home
One in 3 people over the age of 65 fall each year, and 10-15% of those falls result in a fracture. Of all hip fractures—the most debilitating and potentially fatal form of fractures—90% result from falls.
Despite all other risks for osteoporosis fractures, falling may have the most direct effect. That is why we have created a comprehensive checklist of simple steps you can take to prevent falls.
1. Tidy Up Your Home
- Tuck away loose electric cords and other tripping hazards.
- Remove clutter.
- Secure loose rugs to the floor.
- Purchase non-slip mats for the bathtub or shower.
- Check that all handrails are secure.
- Wear rubber-soled, non-stick slippers or supportive shoes in the house.
2. Be Safe After Dark
- Keep the house well lit, and turn on lights before walking down hallways or into rooms.
- Use nightlights.
- Keep a clear path from your bed to the bathroom.
- Keep a lamp or light switch within reach of your bed.
- If you wear glasses, check that your prescription is up to date.
3. Work on your Balance
- Participate in exercises that improve balance. Consider enrolling in yoga or tai chi classes or enlisting help from a personal trainer or physical therapist.
- Include a balance of aerobic and weight-bearing exercise to improve muscle strength and stability.
4. Re-evaluate Medications and Supplements
- Ask your doctor if any of your current medications might cause dizziness, make you drowsy, or increase your risk of falling.
- Supplement vitamin D3. The US Preventive Task Force recommends vitamin D supplementation for fall prevention.
Moyer VA, U.S. PSTF. Prevention of falls in community-dwelling older adults: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med. 2012;157(3):197-204. [article]
Nevitt MC, Cummings SR, Hudes ES. Risk factors for injurious falls: a prospective study. J Gerontol. 1991;46(5):M164-70. [article]
Tinetti ME. Clinical practice. Preventing falls in elderly persons. N Engl J Med. 2003;348(1):42-49. [article]
Article at-a-glance: 70% of Americans take at least one prescription, 50% take two and 20% are on five medications. Drugs cause osteoporosis and can double your risk of bone fracture. Prescriptions are often overlooked as the cause of osteoporosis in up to 30% of...
The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that all women receive bone density screenings beginning at age 65 and all men receive screenings at age 70. Younger adults receive bone density screenings if they have a high risk for osteoporosis or have already...
Osteoporosis can be a silent disease. If people aren’t screened for osteoporosis they can be walking around not knowing their bones are progressively becoming weaker until, one day, they break a bone. Medical guidelines emphasize the importance of building bone...