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Be Safe: Prevent Falls

These are actions you can take to protect yourself and those you love from harm and injury. Common safety issues are sexually transmitted infections, falls, motor vehicle crashes, violence and self-harm.

What's Important to Know?

Falls are a leading cause of fractures, injuries, loss of function, and deaths among older adults. About half of all falls happen at home, and there are practical things you can do to reduce your risk of falling there. Engaging in regular physical activity, monitoring or avoiding certain medications, and getting your eyes checked may reduce your risk of falling. Other things you can do to prevent falls are:

  • Remove small throw rugs to prevent tripping and falling. If you choose to use them, anchor them with double-sided tape or anti-slip mats underneath.
  • Improve the lighting in your home. As you get older, you need brighter lights to help you see well. Hang lightweight curtains or shades to reduce glare. Include night lights in areas you may walk at night.
  • Wear shoes inside and outside the house. Avoid going barefoot or wearing slippers.
  • Remove clutter (papers, books, clothes, shoes, etc.) from stairs and places where you walk so you will be less likely to trip. Install handrails and lights in all staircases.
Physical therapist working to help Veteran walk
  • Keep items you use often in cabinets that you can reach easily without using a step stool.
  • Install grab bars next to your toilet and in your tub or shower. Make sure you use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors.
  • Use a walker or a cane for extra support.
  • Engage in physical activity such as balance training exercises or Tai Chi, to help reduce your risk of falling by increasing your strength and balance. Lack of physical activity leads to weakness and increases your chances of falling.

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Want to Know More?

If you want to learn more about how to prevent falls, talk with your VA health care team.

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