In Case of a Fall: Falls Preparedness and Follow Up

Even healthy and well-prepared older adults can fall. If you fall, there are steps you can take to reduce injury and prevent future falls.

Prepare Your Home for a Fall

Before you fall, make your home safer by following these tips:

  • Have a telephone or cell phone in all areas of your home. Keep phones on low shelves or tables so you can reach them from the floor.
  • Keep emergency contact numbers on or near all of your phones. If you can, enter these numbers on a speed dial.
  • If you live alone, schedule a daily phone call or in-person check-in with a friend or family member.
  • Consider getting a personal emergency response system. Many of these systems are covered under Medicaid. Talk with your health care provider about your options.
  • Use this home safety checklist (PDF) to identify and reduce fall hazards.

Fall More Safely

There are ways you can fall to avoid injury. If you feel yourself falling:

  • Try to let your body go limp.
  • Keep your knees, wrists and elbows loose and bent. Don’t try to break your fall by landing on your hands or knees.
  • Tuck in your chin and throw your arms up around your ears to protect your head.

After You Fall

If you have fallen, follow these tips:

  • Stay calm. Take a few deep breaths.
  • Remain still. Check if you’re hurt before you start to move.
  • If you think you can get up safely:
    • Move slowly toward a sturdy chair or piece of furniture that you can use to pull yourself up.
    • Pause if you feel dizzy.
    • Call your provider or an emergency contact.
    • If you can’t get up on your own, activate your emergency response alert system, call 911 or call out loud for help.

For more information, read this visual guide for getting up from a fall.

Talk to Your Doctor

See your health care provider after you fall, even if you don’t think you are seriously hurt. Write down the details of your fall as soon as you can and discuss them with your provider. Include the following information:

  • How did you feel just before you fell? For example, were you dizzy, weak, tired, confused or having blurry vision?
  • Where were you when you fell?
  • What were you were doing when you fell?
  • Have there been any recent changes in your health? For example, have you started or stopped a medication, experienced a hospital stay or medical procedure, or felt depressed?
  • Have you gone through a stressful event recently? For example: have you lost a loved one, moved or retired?

After having a fall, you may feel an increased fear of falling. This is common, but there are ways to cope with it. Once you and your health care providers understand why you may have fallen, you can take steps to better protect yourself in the future.

More Information