Balance and Falls

By Physical Therapist Mai Vu


According to the National Council on Aging, 1 out of 3 people above age 65 and 1 out of 2 people above age 80 will fall each year. Falling is dangerous and can have serious consequences, including broken bones and head trauma. Here are some tips to help decrease your risk of falling:

  • Make sure your living space is free of clutter and clear of objects that may be a tripping hazard.
  • Reduce uneven surfaces in your home, including area rugs which you may trip over. Using a non-skid backing on area rugs prevents them from slipping.
  • Use non-slip rubber mats in the shower and bathroom. Install grab bars if you have difficulty getting in and out of the bath tub. Do not lean on towel racks – they are not designed to hold body weight.
  • Use reflective tape on the stairs so you can see them more clearly.
  • Have adequate lighting in your home, especially if you have poor vision. Use night lights or light switches that glow in the dark.
  • Store items that you use frequently at waist-level so you do not have to reach up high or squat down frequently. Never use a chair as a step-stool.
  • Listen to your body. Rest when you are tired.
  • Get up slowly after you sit or lie down. It is common to experience mild dizziness when changing positions too quickly.
  • Maintain an active lifestyle with a regular exercise program. Physical therapists can evaluate your balance and develop an individualized treatment plan to improve your strength, flexibility, endurance, gait, and mobility.

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