The best way to prevent a fall?
Know your risk of falling
Falling is not a normal part of aging, and most falls can be prevented. But you can’t prevent a fall unless you recognize that there is a risk. Here’s a simple self-assessment from the STEADY U Ohio initiative. See if any of the following statements applies to you or a loved one:
- I have fallen in the past year.*
- I use or have been advised to use a cane or walker to get around safely.
- Sometimes I feel unsteady when I am walking.*
- I steady myself by holding onto furniture when walking at home.
- I am worried about falling.
- I need to push with my hands to stand up from a chair.
- I have some trouble stepping up onto a curb.
- I often have to rush to the toilet.
- I have lost some feeling in my feet.
- I take medicine that sometimes makes me feel light-headed or tired.
- I take medicine to help me sleep or improve my mood.
- I often feel sad or depressed.
Give yourself one point for each statement you answered with “yes.” (Add two points for items marked with “*.” If you scored four points or more, you may be at increased risk for falls. Talk to your health care provider and ask for a comprehensive falls risk assessment. Be prepared to talk about your history of falls, your medications and your physical activity level.
Once you know what is putting you at risk for a fall, your next step is to do whatever you need to do help prevent a fall. Visit www.steadyu.ohio.gov for tips and resources.