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Your Checklist to Prevent Falls and Fractures at Home

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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.
References

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]

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