The National Institute on Aging (nihseniorhealth.gov) says that losing a steady, healthy balance and gait is common among seniors. Other factors, like certain medications and diseases, can increase difficulty with balance. To determine if a senior is at high risk of falling, watch for the following signs:

  • A change in gait
  • Difficulty getting in and out of chairs or bed
  • Reaching for support when bending, moving, or climbing
  • Needing breaks while moving about routinely, like while climbing upstairs
  • Straining to see clearly • Watching one’s feet while moving
  • Shuffling instead of lifting the feet when walking
  • Pain in the joints, back, or lower body
  • Diseases like Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, or Arthritis If you notice signs like these, be proactive.

Take steps to help seniors with preventative measures around the home and encourage them to practice walking safely outside the home as well.

Floors and Stairs Risk Factors:
• Loose rugs
• Steep steps or inclines
• Slippery surfaces
• Clutter
• Pets that get under foot
Prevention: Add traction surfaces
and rails along the walls. Clean up
obstacles and secure pets when
seniors need to move. Install a chair lift
on stairs if needed.

Kitchen Risk factors:
• High or low shelves
• Slippery floors
• Poor lighting
• Too much furniture
Prevention: Move common kitchen
items to waist level. Add traction pads
to floors and increase lighting. Remove
or rearrange furniture for easier
maneuvering.

Bedroom and Living Area Risk Factors:
• Dim Lighting
• Clutter or excess furniture
• Lack of phones or night lighting
Prevention: Add lighting, include
night lighting and clear a path for
easy navigation at any hour. Secure
cords, wires, and other tripping
hazards behind furniture. Make phones
accessible in case help is needed.