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.