Closeup front view of a senior couple jogging in a forest and having fun. The next moment gentleman stumbles over tree trunk and falls.

Risk Factors That Lead to Falls and How to Prevent Them

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported more than one out of four older people falls each year, but less than half tell their doctor.

  • One in five falls causes serious injury, such as a broken bone or head injury
  • Three million American seniors are treated in the emergency room for falls each year
  • Women fall more often than men and account for three-quarters of all hip fractures.

Falls can lead to broken bones, head injury or fear of another fall, and that fear may cause a person to be less active.

The good news is many falls may be prevented by addressing the following risk factors:

  • Lower body weakness
  • Not enough vitamin D
  • Difficulty with walking and balance
  • Medications that affect balance
  • Vision problems
  • Foot pain or poor footwear
  • Home hazards, such as throw rugs, uneven steps or clutter

Risks can be lessened by taking the following steps:

  • Talk to your doctor, who can evaluate your risk for falls, review your medications or discuss adding vitamin D to your diet.
  • Do strength and balance exercises.
  • Have your hearing and vision checked annually.
  • Have your feet checked.
  • Make your home safer by removing throw rugs, adding grab bars, adding brighter light bulbs to provide more lighting, using nonslip mats and keeping most-used items within reach in your cabinets to avoid using a stepstool.

Learn more about fall prevention in this Blue Cross Virtual Well-BeingSM webinar. You can also sign up for future employer-focused and general interest webinars here, where you’ll find past sessions and resources.

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Photo credit: Getty Images

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