by | Jan 25, 2023

Have you ever had a fall or know someone who has had  a fall? 

The risk of falling increases as we age.  In fact, people over the age of 65 …..and women are more likely to fall than men. Muscle weakness and reduced physical fitness levels can cause a 5 times increase in your risk of falling. Falls can lead to hip fractures and/or serious head injuries.  Most falls (60 %) occur at home. And this is why we have chosen to write this blog about falls in seniors because it is such a serious issue.

Well it’s no fun falling and ending up with injuries, however, the good news is that most falls are predictable and preventable events. You CAN make small changes around your house that can reduce the risk of a fall and keep you safe and independent at home.

I have worked with many patients living in their homes – retirement homes, nursing homes or their own private homes/apartments.  When I first walk into a home my eyes scan the surroundings and I can immediately spot things that are hazards for falling.   I know how small changes can make big differences to help reduce the chance of falling or getting injured.  Prevention is always better to PREVENT A FALL.

In this blog I will discuss 5 ways that you can prevent falls by:

  1. Making changes inside your house.
  2. Having a medical check up
  3. Following the motto “Motion is lotion” 
  4. Check for hazards within your house
  5. Using assistive devices

We hope this blog will help you overcome the fear of falling by taking charge of your life!

How to protect your feet

Read this blog until the end so you can download 
from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Facts about Falls:

  • Falls are the leading cause of injury among older Canadians with 20-30% seniors experiencing one or more falls each year.
  • Falls cause 85% of seniors’ injury-related hospitalizations, 95% of all hip fractures, $2 billion a year in direct healthcare costs, and over one third of seniors are admitted to long-term care following hospitalization for a fall.
  • The average Canadian senior had to stay in hospital 10 days longer for falls than for any other cause.
  • Falls can result in chronic pain, reduced mobility, loss of independence and even death.
  • Fifty percent of all falls causing hospitalization happen at home.
  • Injuries due to falls rose 43% between 2003 and 2008.
  • Deaths due to falls rose 65% between 2003 and 2008.
  • The good news is that falls are preventable and action can be taken by all.

Source: Click Here To Download

1. Making Changes inside your house:

How can you prevent falls in your bathroom/bedroom?

      • Remove soap build-up in the tub or shower on a regular basis.
      • Mount grab bars with a non-slip surface in the tub and near the toilet.
      • Place non-slip bath mats in the bath/shower.
      • Have a clear, well lit path from the bedroom to the bathroom.
      • Grab bars can be used in any room to help you move safely.
      • Give your body time to adjust when you move from lying to sitting/standing. A change in gravity causes your blood pressure to drop. This can make you dizzy and cause a fall.
      • Wear shoes with good arch support and non-slip soles even when you are in the house.
How to protect your feet

How can you prevent falls in your kitchen?

      • Use a heat proof counter or mat next to the stove to slide pots onto.
      • Cupboard, doors and drawers should be kept closed.
      • The items you use often should be within easy reach.
      • Heavy items should be stored from knee to shoulder height.
      • Use a stable step stool with a safety rail and rubber tips to make reaching easier.
      • Remove or secure mats with tape or non-slip backing.
      • Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water even if you are not thirsty. As we get older, we do not feel thirst as well, dehydration can cause a fall.

How can you prevent falls on stairs?

      • Handrails should be on both sides of the stairway which extends beyond the first step. Handrails should be elbow height (36” to 39” high).
      • Handrails mounted with enough space from the wall so your hand can grip around it.
      • Stairs are the same size and height.
      • A two-way light switch at the top and bottom of the stairs.
      • Remove clutter from top and bottom of stairs.
      • Watch for pets before using stairs.
      • Turn on the light when you use the steps, even in the daytime.
How to protect your feet

2. Having a medical check up:

Your medications:  

      • Talk to your doctor before you change or stop taking the medicine.
      • Keep medication in their original containers and in a cool dry place (not in the bathroom which can be damp).
      • Get rid of expired medicines by returning them to the pharmacy.
      • Use one drug store for all your prescriptions and over the counter pills. Some drugs interact with each other, your pharmacist can help you choose safely.
      • Some drugs are more likely to cause side effects that may cause a fall (such as, sleeping pills and meds for depression) – know the risk.
      • Do not mix alcohol with medication.

 Any previous falls:

Write down the details, including when, where and how you fell. Be prepared to discuss instances when you almost fell but were caught by someone or managed to grab hold of something just in time. Details such as these may help your health care provider identify specific fall prevention strategies.

Your health conditions:

Certain eye and ear disorders may increase your risk of falls. Be prepared to discuss your health conditions and how comfortable you are when you walk — for example, do you feel any dizziness, joint pain, shortness of breath, or numbness in your feet and legs when you walk? Your health care provider may evaluate your muscle strength, balance and walking style (gait) as well.

How to maintain bone health:

Your bone health is closely linked to fall prevention. Falls are the main cause of broken bones, especially hips, in older adults. Bone is a tissue that grows best when we are children and teenagers. As we get older, new bone is always being added to old bone to keep it healthy. Vitamin D and Calcium help to build strong bones. 

After age 30, for both men and women, bone mass undergoes a very slow and steady decline. Bones become thinner and weaker and may break easily. This is called osteoporosis. We may not even know that we have this condition until a fracture occurs. The good news is, people with osteoporosis can reduce bone loss and the risk of a fracture through early diagnosis, treatment and a fall prevention plan.

        • Ask your doctor if you need a bone mineral density (BMD) test.
        • Make sure you get enough calcium (1000-1500mg) and vitamin D (400-800 IU) every day.
        • Exercise 2 times per week for at least 20-30 minutes.
        • Have no more than 4 cups of coffee a day.
        • Be smoke free.

3. Following the motto “Motion is lotion”

It is very important that we continue to move as we age. 

What kind of movement?  

How often?  

Which ones are safe?  

All very good questions.  Working with a physiotherapist is a great way to answer all of these questions.  Each of us has unique medical needs and physical abilities – so each of us needs a program designed specifically for each of us. 

For example, gentle exercises with bands or light weights, or aquatherapy, or tai chi or even dancing! Each of these activities can reduce your risk of falling by improving your strength, balance, coordination and flexibility.  Avoiding these kinds of activities will lead to loss of strength, balance and coordination.  

**Oh and do not forget to wear sensible shoes with good support and nonskid soles.  This will prevent joint pain and decrease your chances for slipping and falling.

4. Check for hazards within your house:

Take this quiz now to find out how at risk your home is:

 T/F I have laying around my house empty boxes, electrical cords, newspapers

T/F I have loose rugs, loose floorboards

T/F I have have non-slip mats in my bathtub or shower

T/F I store clothing, dishes, food etc within easy reach

T/F I have night lights in my bedroom, bathroom and hallways

T/F I store flashlights in easy to find places in case of power outages

T/F I have a lamp within reach of my bed in case i need to get up in the night

If you chose True for any of these questions then you can take action right now to make changes to your house to remove a hazard or two!

5. Use mobility aids:

Did you ever wonder when and why to use a cane or a walker or a rollator? Have you ever thought about using a bath bench/chair or raised toilet seat?  Your physiotherapist has the experience to know which one will help you live independently in your own home.  These “assistive devices” help keep you steady and so will help prevent you from falling.   

    • Handrails for both sides of stairways
    • Non Slip treads for bare-wood steps
    • A raised toilet seat or one with armrests
    • Grab bars for the shower or tub
    • A sturdy plastic seat for the shower or tub — plus a hand-held shower nozzle for bathing while sitting down

If you are someone who has poor balance or has frequent falls make an appointment with your friendly neighborhood Physiotherapist and/or Chiropractor in Richmond Hill at 16th Avenue Chiropractic and Physiotherapy.

Call us 905-709-7147 
email us  info@chirophysio16th.com
Visit our website:  www.info@chirophysio16th.com

How to protect your feet

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Why are falls common in older people?

Answer: Falls are common in older people as they are more likely to have balance issues, muscle weakness, poor vision or long term conditions like dementia, low blood pressure that can lead to dizziness and brief loss of consciousness.

Question: What is the best suggestion for fall prevention?

Answer: Exercise is the most effective way to decrease the rate of fall in seniors especially 65 years and older. Also getting a fall risk assessment done by your healthcare provider can reduce the risk of fall.

Question: What to do with a senior who keeps falling because of poor balance?

Answer: Person with declining balance should get help from a physiotherapist to improve balance and strength through exercise.


Click HERE for a brochure published by the Public Health Agency of Canada titled:  You CAN Prevent Falls!

ABOUT 16th Ave Chiropractic and Physiotherapy

You have your own personal goals. Maybe you want to return to sport, work, recover from surgery or get ready for a vacation. After 40 years in Richmond Hill our highly trained and experienced chiropractors and physiotherapists know what treatment/exercises you need to help you reach your goals.
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Make an appointment by calling us or emailing and talk about how we can help you.

Call us at 905-709-7147 or email us at info@chirophysio16th.com