Keep on Your Feet—Preventing Older Adult Falls

Image of a smiling couple hiking in autumn

Falls are common and costly, especially among Americans age 65 and older. But falls are preventable and do not have to be an inevitable part of aging.

Every second of every day, an older adult (age 65+) suffers a fall in the U.S.—making falls the leading cause of injury and injury death in this age group. One out of four older adults will fall each year in the United States, making falls a public health concern, particularly among the aging population.

Facts About Older Adult Falls
What You Can Do

Falls are not a normal part of aging. You can keep on your feet and avoid the risk of a fall. Take steps to stay safe and independent longer. Learn what you can do to reduce your chances of falling pdf icon[PDF – 2,367 KB].

A great first step is reading CDC’s Stay Independent brochure pdf icon[PDF – 1,769 KB]. Complete the questionnaire, if you score four or more points, you may be at higher risk for falling.

Speak Up

  • Talk openly with your doctor about fall risks and prevention.
  • Tell your doctor right away if you have fallen, if you’re afraid you might fall, or if you feel unsteady.
  • Review all of your medicines with your doctor or pharmacist and discuss any side effects like feeling dizzy or sleepy. Some medicines, even over-the-counter medicines and herbal supplements, can increase your fall risk.
  • Do you get dizzy or lightheaded when you go from sitting to standing? CDC’s Postural Hypotension pdf icon[PDF – 2,224 KB] brochure has information on how to manage these symptoms.
  • Have your eyes checked annually and update your glasses, as needed. Conditions like cataracts and glaucoma limit your vision.
  • Have your feet checked. Discuss proper footwear with your doctor and ask whether seeing a foot specialist (podiatrist) is advised.

Stay Active

  • Do exercises that make your legs stronger and improve you balance (like Tai Chi).

Make Your Home Safe

  • Get rid of trip hazards. Keep floors clutter free.
  • Add grab bars in the bathroom.
  • Have handrails and lights installed on all staircases.
  • Use the Check for Safety brochure pdf icon[PDF – 2,625 KB] to help identify and eliminate additional fall hazards in your home.
MyMobility
Promotional image for My Mobility Plan

Falls and motor vehicle crashes, which are both related to mobility, are the two leading causes of injury and injury death in older adults.

Use the mobility planning tool pdf icon[PDF -4,646 KB] to help keep yourself—or your loved ones—safe, mobile, and independent tomorrow.