Tips to prevent falls

Tips to prevent falls

Thursday, January 18, 2024


Two out of three falls occur when someone slips or trips. This is especially true if you live in a climate that includes freezing temperatures in the winter. Cold weather makes it easier to fall and harder to maintain your balance. 


For instance, people slip or trip on: 

  • Visibly icy surfaces 

  • Black ice, a coating of ice so thin that people think it’s asphalt or pavement 

  • Ice that’s covered by snow or snow drifts 

  • Unplowed sidewalks and streets 


A fall becomes more dangerous when: 

  • Ice and snow makes it difficult to get up 

  • Exposure to freezing temperatures compounds the fall or injury 


Fall statistics 

Falls are the number one reason for injury-related Emergency Department visits and accidental deaths in people aged 65 and over. Prevention is key. 


Indoor prevention 

  • Remove hazards (bags, baskets, cords and anything in walkways) 

  • Good lighting 

  • Non-slip rugs 

  • Make sure your clothes and shoes fit 

  • Bathroom grab bars 


Outdoor prevention 

  • Make sure surfaces are clear 

  • Use assistance devices for stability (walkers, canes) 

  • Dress for the weather 

  • Use a path you know 

  • Good lighting 


General safety measures 

  • Walk with a buddy 

  • Carry a cell phone 

  • Carry a medical alert system 

  • Wear watches with fall sensors 

  • Make a daily phone call or check in with a friend, family member or neighbor 


If you fall, soften your landing 

  • Flex forward into the fall, which gives you some control over direction. Fall sideways, if possible. 

  • Tuck your head and turn your shoulder into the fall to protect your head. 

  • Relax everything and fall like a sack of beans. 

  • Fall on the soft, fleshy places, like your buttocks and thighs. These areas have more protection and are lower to the ground. 

  • As you complete the fall, try to roll to your side in a ball. This will spread the impact to reduce injury and stop you from rolling farther. 


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Genesis HealthCare System’s Health and Wellness content conveniently provides accurate and helpful information. Your health history and current health may impact suggestions provided through our Health and Wellness content. Although we hope this information is helpful, it is not a substitute for your doctor's medical advice. Before making any significant changes, please consult your doctor.