Senior Safety & Fall Prevention

Fall Prevention for Older Adults

Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among adults ages 65 years and older.  In addition to deaths and injuries, as well as the costs associated with them, falls can have many negative consequences for older adults, including:

  • Fear of falling again
  • Forced relocation from the home
  • Loss of independence
  • Stress in the family

By reducing their chance of a fall, older adults can stay independent and have an increased quality of life.

If you or a loved one has concerns about fall risks due to age or disability, we hope the following resources and information can help you ease those concerns and greatly reduce the risk of falls in your home. 

Seniors Walking

Preventing Falls Among Older Adults

There are many reasons why an older adult might fall, including a variety of biological, behavioral, and environmental factors. These risk factors include:

  • A previous fall
  • Chronic health conditions (e.g., arthritis, stroke)
  • Conditions in the home (e.g., slippery floors, loose rugs, cords on the floor, poor lighting)
  • Fear of falling
  • Medicines (including interaction effects)
  • Mobility problems (e.g., muscle weakness, balance)
  • Poor nutrition (leading to weakness, dizziness, fainting)
  • Poor vision or hearing

Older adults who have one or more of these conditions may have a higher risk of falling. The following practices are recommended for older adults to reduce their chances of falling and help them stay independent:

  • Exercising regularly (especially leg strengthening and improving balance)
  • Having an eye doctor check their vision at least once a year
  • Making their home environment safer
  • Reviewing their medicines with a doctor or pharmacist

Interventions & Assistance Programs

There are evidence-based interventions for older adults, including programs designed specifically to prevent falls. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has resources available for providers interested in these interventions, including a compendium of evidence based fall interventions and a Resources Guide for developing community based falls prevention programs. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) also has information about evidence based programs. A few of the interventions being conducted in Santa Cruz County include:

You can also research additional helpful programs and services for seniors through the California Department of Aging (CDA) website