What Puts Elders at Risk of Falling?

Fall Risk

Some fall risk factors listed below are preventable and others are not, but knowing the factors can still help you assess your level of risk.

  • If you live alone or have a small social circle, you are at higher risk of falling because you are less likely to have help when you need it.
  • A history of falling, even if you have only had one fall, will increase your risk of falling again.
  • Muscle weakness caused by a physical disability, such as multiple sclerosis or post-polio syndrome, and/or due to inactivity.
  • Poor balance, coordination, or walking (gait) problems.
  • Poor vision.
  • Cognitive (thinking) problems that affect your ability to focus and pay attention while you’re walking.
  • Not using assistive devices or mobility aids when and how you should. Tips or falls in wheelchairs account for a lot of fall-related injuries for wheelchair users.
  • Wearing poor or unsuitable footwear.
  • Some medications or the combination of multiple medications can have side effects such as fatigue or dizziness that may increase your risk of falling.
  • Poor diet or not drinking enough fluids (water).
  • Alcohol use.


Your physical environment also affects your risk of falling.

  • If handrails on stairs or grab bars are missing or not properly/securely installed.
  • Poor stair design or stairs in disrepair such as small stair width, uneven stairs or stairs of different heights.
  • Dim lighting may reduce your ability to see obstacles or tripping hazards.
  • Obstacles or tripping hazards such as power cords, throw rugs that move, or even your pet cats or dogs that are always underfoot.
  • Slippery or uneven surfaces.




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