Preventing Falls

In the Older Adult Population

Healthy People 2020

According to healthy people 2020, 1 in 3 older adults will experience a fall each year. Falls can lead to fear of future falls, sedentary behavior, impaired function, and lower quality of life (Healthy 2016). Following the suggestions on this page can help identify and resolve some of the risk factors associated with falls.


A number of factors can place an elderly person at risk for increased falls. Risk factors for an increased rate of falls in an elderly person include cognitive impairment, unsteady gait, a history of falls, depression and increased age (Hanley 2010). If you or someone you know meets any of the previous criteria, follow the steps below to ensure safety in your home.

Ways to Take Action

Overcoming Barriers

Exercise- Because getting out of the house at least three times a week may be hard or expensive for some people, there are many workouts that can be done in the home with little to no equipment.

Diet- Although it may be hard to maintain a balanced diet, especially when only cooking for one or two people, supplements are available that can add to your diet if it is inadequate.

Home Modification- Carpeting your entire home may not be realistic, but non-stick shoes and sock options are available that could prevent slipping on wood or tile floors.


Although taking the steps to prevent falls now may seem time consuming or costly, recovering from a fall is a much longer process and could even be deadly. The Geriatric Orthopedic Surgical Rehabilitation Journal states that 21.2% of people who fracture their hip over the age of 60 will die within 1 year (Schnell 2010).

Community Resources

Meals on Wheels- Can provide healthy, balanced meals to the homes of the elderly

Home health care providers- "Provide information you can trust that will strengthen your emotional (and physical) heath, and improve your relationships within your home".


Hanley, A., Silke, C., & Murphy, J. (2010). Community-based health efforts for the prevention of falls in the elderly. Clinical Interventions in Aging. Retrieved February 04, 2016.

Healthy People 2020. (2016, February 03). Older Adults. Retrieved February 04, 2016, from

Marks, R. (2014). Falls Among the Elderly: Multi-Factorial Community-Based Falls-Prevention Programs. Journal of Aging Science. Retrieved February 05, 2016, from

Schnell, S. (2010). The 1-Year Mortality of Patients Treated in a Hip Fracture Program for Elders. Geriatric Orthopedic Surgical Rehabilitation Journal. Retrieved February 5, 2016, from

By Brian Young and Lindsey Zimmerman