Falls Prevention Information
Falls are not a normal part of aging and are preventable. The risk of falling — and fall-related problems — rises as people age. In 2020, 316,215 Missourians over the age of 65 reported falling in the past twelve months. Falls are also the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among Missourians aged 65 and older, leading to 740 deaths in 2021.
So, what can you do stay active, independent, and avoid falls as you age?
- Check your home for fall risks: Use this falls prevention checklist from the CDC to find ways to make your home safer as you age.
- Stay physically active and focus on overall wellness: Do these simple falls prevention exercises at home or find a fitness class at your local area agency on aging. Staying hydrated, eating a healthy diet, and getting quality sleep can all improve your overall wellness and decrease your risk of falling.
- Get an annual fall screening: The CDC recommends that all adults over the age of 65 get an annual fall screening. If you have additional symptoms, such as dizziness or light-headedness, you may need a fall screening earlier.
- Get regular medical checks: Changes in vision, hearing, and foot stability may cause you to fall. Ask your medical provider how often you should have your vision and hearing checked. If you receive new eyewear or hearing aids, take time to get used to them. If you are noticing changes in your foot strength or the way you walk, talk to your medical provider about these changes.
- Tell your medical provider if you have fallen: A fall can alert your medical provider to a possible problem and help them provide you with steps to prevent future accidents. These steps may include things like changing medication, seeing a physical therapist, or seeing an occupational therapist.
Resources for Additional Information about Falls Prevention
- CDC Publications: Order printed brochures from the CDC on a variety of topics, including falls prevention
- CDC’s STEADI: Printable brochures for patients and caregivers, videos, and training materials
- Health & Wellness Programs in Missouri: an online listing of evidence-based health & wellness programs offered by Missouri’s area agencies on aging
- NCOA’s Falls Free CheckUp: an online tool to assess your risk of falling
- Video about Falls Prevention: This seven minute video presented by DHSS Bureau of Senior Programs provides falls data for Missouri, tips on identifying and fixing fall hazards in the home, and general tips for preventing falls.