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Preventing Falls

Falls are really common in people who are 65 or older. The risk for falls rises steadily every five years after age 65. By taking care of your overall health, you can lower your chances of falling. Take the steps below to prevent falls before they happen.

Prevent falls at home

To help make your home safer for you and those around you, learn about hazards present in every home:

Keep your bones healthy

When you get the right amount of calcium and Vitamin D every day you’ll have stronger bones. Since most diets do not provide enough calcium or vitamin D, we suggest that most adults take at least a 500 to 600 mg daily calcium supplement and a 1,000 IU daily vitamin D supplement.

Amount needed every day for: Calcium (mg) Vitamin D * (IU)
Adults 19 – 49 (non-pregnant women) 1,000 1,000 to 2,000
Adults over 50 1,200 1,000 to 2,000
*Preferably D3

More information about calcium and vitamin D

Stay as physically active as you can

Aim for 150 minutes of physical activity a week. That breaks down to 30 minutes of physical activity on all or most days of the week to keep your bones and muscles strong, and your joints flexible.

Build your balance and strength

Good balance and coordination will help you prevent falls. Try these simple exercises to improve your balance.

Contact your local facility’s Health Education Department for more information about our classes for fall prevention and balance like Tai Chi, Qi gong, and yoga. Our Health Education staff can also help you find information about other fall prevention resources in your community.

Review your medicines

Some prescription and over-the-counter medicines or a combination of them can make you sleepy or dizzy. This could make you more likely to fall. Discuss your medicines with your health care providers at your next visit.

Have your vision checked

Small changes in your vision can make you less stable. Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year. Find more information at Vision Essentials.

Have your hearing checked

Changes in your hearing can also put you at higher risk for a fall. Take a Hearing Health Quiz or find more information about Kaiser Permanente Hearing Centers of Northern California.

Consider aids to keep you stable

Use a cane, walking stick, or walker, to help you feel steadier when you walk. This is very important when you’re walking in areas you don’t know well or when you are in places where the walkways are uneven. And be very careful when walking on wet or icy surfaces. They can be very slippery!

Know your emergency contacts

  • Carry a cell phone and keep your emergency contact numbers with you at all times. Keep these numbers next to your phones at home.
  • Consider wearing a medical alert bracelet or necklace in case you are alone and fall. Usually, you wear a button on a chain around your neck. If you fall or need emergency help, you just push the button to alert the service.
  • Think about installing a home monitoring system. You can search online for medical alarm services or you can find local services in your telephone directory yellow pages.

For additional information