Preventing falls

fallsFrom the moment we learn to walk, we’re at risk of falling. And although many falls lead to no harm, others can result in serious incapacity, long periods of hospitalization, chronic pain and even death. That’s why it’s important to look at the risks seriously and take all necessary precautions, especially as we get older and our bones become more brittle.

Various factors can play a part:

  • age
  • state of health (e.g., arthritis, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s disease)
  • weakness in the legs
  • loss of balance
  • lack of suppleness
  • vision problems
  • certain medications
  • poor lighting
  • blocked access
  • unstable furniture and accessories

A few simple precautions can reduce the risk of falling:

  • know your limits
  • wear shoes with anti-slip soles
  • use a cane or walker if you’re shaky on your feet or have balance problems
  • take care of your general state of health, particularly your feet
  • eat regularly to avoid getting weak or dizzy
  • see your doctor if you suffer from dizziness
  • do exercises to improve your muscular strength, suppleness
  • and balance
  • wait a few minutes before getting out of bed in the morning
  • be aware of the side-effects of any medications you take

At home, take every precaution to reduce the risk of falling, for you and the entire family.


  • Install an efficient lighting system
  • In all seasons, keep steps and pathways well swept and clear of hazards (for example, snow in winter, leaves in fall)
  • In winter, spread some sand or salt on potentially slippery areas
  • Always put tools and toys away after use; don’t leave anything lying on the ground 

On steps and stairs

  • Ensure they’re well lit
  • Install solid handrails on both sides
  • Whenever you use the stairs, remember to wear your glasses (you could miss your footing if you can’t see well)
  • Don’t rush; take it one step at a time


  • Arrange cables, wires, extension cords and all other objects close to the walls – not under your feet
  • Choose anti-slip, short-pile carpets
  • Avoid clutter
  • Install nightlights that come on automatically

In the bathroom

  • Install handrails
  • If needed, add a raised toilet seat
  • Install nightlights that come on automatically
  • Place regularly-used items within easy reach

In the kitchen

  • Store heavy articles in the lower cabinets
  • Place regularly-used items on shelves you can easily reach
  • If you need to take something off a high shelf, use a stable step-ladder equipped with handrails
  • Immediately wipe up any liquid spilt on the floor