Alert
Close

Think you know AARP? What you don't know about us may surprise you. Discover all the 'Real Possibilities'

HIGHLIGHTS

Open

REAL POSSIBILITIES

AARP Real Possibilities

DRIVER SAFETY

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

Contests and
Sweeps

Dream Vacation Sweepstakes

10 weeks. 10 amazing trips. Seize your chance to win!
See official rules. 

CHECK OUT OUR
NEW IPAD APP!

ATM Mobile App for iPhone and Ipad

Enjoy the best of AARP’s award-winning publications

on the go with the new

AARP ePubs iPad App

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.

 

Arthritis

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Most Popular

Viewed

Commented

Finding Your Way

What You Can Do to Prevent a Fall

Medications, exercise, environment make a difference

When kids fall down, they can usually get up and return to play quickly. But for older adults, falls can be serious.

Among adults over age 65, falls are a threat to health and independence. They also are common. More than one-third of adults over age 65 fall each year. They account for about 2 million emergency department visits, data collected by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality shows. About three-quarters of those treated are women.

One-third of older adults who fall suffer moderate to serious injuries, including hip fractures and head trauma. Falls often send seniors from a hospital to a nursing home or long-term care facility for follow-up care. This may be difficult physically and emotionally.

While there's no simple solution to stop falls and their serious effects, there is progress. We're learning more about why falls occur and, more important, steps to prevent them.

Falls happen for many reasons. Aging often causes declines in vision, balance and strength, making falls more likely. As we age, we are also more likely to take medicines that can cause dizziness, slow our reaction time or cause other side effects. Finally, how a person's home is set up can increase the risk for falls.

Here are some things you can do to reduce the chance that you or a loved one will get hurt by a fall:

Know your medicines

  • Make sure your doctor knows which medicines you take. I can't overstate how important it is to keep a current list of all of your prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Show this list to your doctor and pharmacist at each visit. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you, for example, if a medicine to treat blood pressure can cause dizziness and how to avoid problems.

  • Find out if a new medicine replaces one you already take. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if the new drug will cause side effects with drugs you already take.

  • Ask how to take new medicine correctly. Make sure you find out how often to take it and whether you should take the drug with food. Tell your doctor if you have side effects.

  • Be sure to monitor your heart rate, blood pressure or blood sugar at home, if recommended by your doctor.

  • Remember that alcohol interacts with many medicines. It can make side effects, like dizziness, worse.

Stay strong with exercise >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Health blog

Discounts & Benefits

bring health To Life-Visual MD

AARP Bookstore

AARP Bookstore - woman reaches for book on bookshelf

VISIT THE HEALTH SECTION

Find titles on brain health, drug alternatives and losing weight. Do