According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans. Falls present a serious threat to an individual’s safety, health, and independence. That said, falling should not be viewed as an inevitable result of aging. With education and specific preventive measures, falls can be dramatically reduced.

Here are some facts:

  • One in four Americans aged 65+ falls each year.
  • Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
  • Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of non-fatal trauma-related hospital admissions for older adults.
  • Falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 800,000 hospitalizations and 27,000 deaths.

Your risk of falling increases when you have:

  • Fallen before
  • Balance problems
  • Chronic conditions such as arthritis
  • Depression
  • Hazards in the home
  • Multiple medications
  • Memory problems
  • Muscle weakness
  • Difficulty walking
  • Hearing difficulty
  • Vision loss

What is a Balance Assessment?

Why Balance Assessment Is Crucial Balance is one of those things we cannot do without. Our bodies need the perfect pint of balance to enable seamless movement, sitting, and even standing. Think about any interference…

How do you reduce your risk of falling so you can stay independent, healthy and strong?

  1. Get a fall assessment
    • Talk with your healthcare team about your fall risk, especially if you have any of the conditions listed above.
  2. Review your medications
    • Bring all your medications, vitamins and supplements to your healthcare provider at least once a year and when there are changes to your health.
    • Ask about side effects and interactions, especially if you take four or more medications.
  3. Have your hearing checked
    • Untreated hearing loss is linked with balance difficulties. Have your hearing checked every year by your Doctor of Audiology.
  4. Have your vision checked
    • Have your vision and eyeglass prescriptions checked every year by your optometrist.
  5. Engage in regular physical activity
    • Ask your physician about the types of physical activities that would be appropriate for your current health status.
    • Doing strength, balance and mobility exercises can reduce your risk of falling.
  6. Assess your home and make changes for safety.
    • Use a home safety checklist or talk with a professional to look for things inside your home that make you more likely to fall.
    •  Make modifications in your home to make it safer – reduce clutter, improve lighting in rooms, hallways, and stairwells, and install handrails and grab bars.
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