Falls in older adults

While falls are common in older adults, they are preventable.

Are you at risk of falling?

  • Have you fallen in past six months?
  • Do you feel unsteady or have trouble walking?
  • Do you worry about falling?
  • Do you take five or more medications?
  • Do you have vision problems?

There are other risk factors for falling. To complete a self-assessment questionnaire about your risk of falling,  visit the Santé Montréal website.

How can you prevent falls?

  • Exercise regularly. For more information on the fall prevention program STAND-UP!,  visit the CIUSSS website.
  • Have regular eye checkups. For more information about how good vision can help prevent falls,  visit the Santé Montréal website.
  • Eat healthy, well balanced meals. For more information about healthy eating,  see the Canada's Food Guide.
  • Review your medications with your pharmacist, doctor or nurse. For more information about taking medication and the risk of falling,  visit the Santé Montréal website.
  • Remain seated while getting dressed.
  • Wear anti-slip shoes that have good support. For more information about choosing the right shoes to avoid falling,  visit the Santé Montréal website.
  • In winter, wear ice grips on the bottom of your outdoor shoes.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about falls.

How can you keep your home safe?

  • Keep floors dry by cleaning up spills immediately.
  • Remove small rugs, wires and clutter from the floor.
  • Use firm chairs with armrests and avoid chairs with wheels.
  • Keep a phone or alarm device with you.
  • Use nightlights.
  • Use a cane or walker, as directed by a healthcare provider
  • When getting into or out of a wheelchair, make sure the brake is engaged and the footrests are folded out of the way.
  • Consider consulting an occupational therapist about a home safety evaluation.

In your bedroom

  • Keep your lamp and glasses within reach.
  • Get out of bed slowly.
  • Consider installing a bed rail to help you get into and out of bed.
  • Consider using a commode or bedpan at night.

In your bathroom

  • Use a hand-held shower head.
  • Place anti-slip mats inside and outside the tub/shower.
  • Consider using a bench in the tub/shower.
  • Consider installing grab bars by the toilet and in the tub/shower.
  • Consider using a raised toilet seat.
  • Do not lean on a towel rack or soap dish for support.

In your kitchen

  • Sit while preparing food.
  • Store heavy items in lower cupboards.
  • Keep frequently used items nearby.

On the stairs

  • Walk slowly down the stairs.
  • Install handrails on both sides of the staircase.
  • Place non-slip strips on uncarpeted stairs.
  • Make sure carpeting is firmly attached.
  • In winter, make sure outdoor stairs are free of ice and are well salted.

If you fall

  • Stay calm.
  • Do not rush to get up.
  • Check whether you are injured.
  • If you are unsure what to do, call Info-Santé 811.
  • Inform your healthcare provider about the fall.

If you are injured or unable to get up

  • Make noise to attract someone who can help.
  • If you have a portable alarm device, press it.
  • Use your cell phone to call for help (family, friends or 911).
  • For more information about falling or what to do if you see someone fall,  visit the website of the Public Health Agency of Canada.


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