What can I do to help  prevent falls?

Watching Your Steps

As you age, it becomes increasingly important to be able to identify and avoid potential hazards that may pose a risk of falls. This involves taking steps to help make your environment safer whether it's at home or outdoors in your community.

 

To further support you in your effort to identify and avoid potential hazards, it is also recommended that you consult the appropriate healthcare professional for an annual eye exam, a regular foot and footwear check and an assessment of proper use of assistive devices.  

 

However, it all starts with avoiding risky behavior which may lead to a fall-related injury due distractions or inattentiveness. Taking steps such as getting a good night's sleep, following responsible drinking guidelines and taking your time to avoid rushing are a few examples of recommended safety measures you should follow every day.

Avoiding Risky Behavior

 

Research shows that older adults have a higher proportion of sleep disorders than younger individuals. Lack of sleep or having poor quality sleep can impair balance, and reduce reaction time and increase your risk for a fall. Fortunately, you can do many things to help you get a good night’s sleep such as avoiding large meals right before bedtime, limiting caffeinated beverages and keeping your bedroom dark, cool and quiet. To learn more, consult the information on Sleep and Aging from the Canadian Sleep Society.

 

Alcohol can harm the way the body and brain function at any age. However, many older adults remain unaware of how more vulnerable they may be to alcohol-related problems. Issues related to dangerous drinking include memory loss, depression, insomnia and an increase risk of falls.

 

For information about ways to identify and address alcohol-related problems, please consult the Alcohol and Seniors guidebook.

Making Your Home Safer

Falls in older adults are often due to hazards that are easy to overlook but simple to fix. In order to reduce your risk of falls, we recommend that you consult the Home Safety Checklist. This resource along with its accompanying Personal Action Plan checklist will help you identify and manage some of the most common hazards in and around your home.

In addition, as an older adult in New Brunswick, you could qualify for available assistance or tax credits such as the New Brunswick Seniors' Home Renovation Tax Credit to help with the cost of making your home safer and more accessible. 

 

For more information, please call the Toll-Free Seniors Information Line.

Making Your Community Safer

Being aware of hazards in your community can help you and others avoid falling when out and about. Issues such as uneven sidewalks, public buildings without automatic door openers or a lack of sufficient benches along walkways contribute to an increased risk of falls. This is why we recommend that you do not hesitate to contact the right person in authority to address such hazards.

 

Interested in doing more to help others at risk for falls? You can help make your community safer by making it "age-friendly". Consult the Guide: How to Develop Your Age-friendly Community to learn more about how to join this dynamic provincial movement.

Vision and Eye Health

 

As we age, it is normal for our vision to change. This is why it's important to recognize those changes as early as possible since your vision is so important to daily living. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to preserve your eyesight and improve your vision such as making efforts to avoid smoking, wearing sunglasses when needed and keeping rooms well-lit.

However, the most important thing you can do is to have a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year since many of the conditions that cause vision loss such as glaucoma and macular degeneration do not have symptoms in their early stages. For more information, please click on the Vision Care fact sheet image.

Foot Care and Proper Footwear

If your feet are sore, nail care is poor, or if you have foot problems, the way you walk can change. Taking care of your feet and shoes are important recommendations to follow to help prevent falls.

 

For information about the ideal shoe in addition to simple foot care tips, please click on the Foot Care and Footwear fact sheet.

Assistive Device Use

 

Assistive devices are useful items that help to reduce the strains of daily activities at home, at work, or at play. They include medical equipment, mobility aids and gadgets that can suit many different needs. If you think you could benefit from using an assistive device, it is recommended that you consult your primary care provider, pharmacist, or an occupational therapist at your earliest convenience.

 

For more information about assistive devices and how to decide which one is best for you, please click on the Go for It: A Guide to Choosing and Using Assistive Devices guidebook.

Resources

 

  • Sleep and Aging

    • Developed by the Canadian Sleep Society​

  • Alcohol and Seniors

    • Developed by ​Éduc’alcool

  • Home Safety Checklist

    • Developed by NB Trauma​

  • Home Safety Checklist - Personal Action Plan

    • Developed by NB Trauma

  • New Brunswick Seniors' Home Renovation Tax Credit

    • Developed by the NB Finance and Treasury Board

  • Toll-Free Seniors Information Line

    • Developed by NB Dept. of Social Development

  • Guide: How to Develop Your Age-friendly Community

    • Developed by NB Dept. of Social Development

  • Vision Care: Healthy Aging

    • Developed by NB Senior and Healthy Aging Secretariat

  • Foot Care and Footwear

    • Original concept developed by the Alberta Centre for Injury Control and Research

  • Go for It: A Guide to Choosing and Using Assistive Devices

    • Developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER

The information contained on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your primary care provider or a qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition, or before beginning any exercise program.

Toll-Free Seniors Information Line 

 

The toll-free Seniors Information Line provides a traditional method of speaking with a bilingual, customer-service oriented telephone agent. For basic information about provincial programs and services for older adults, their family and caregivers please contact:

1-855-550-0552

Tele-Care 

 

If you or someone you know requires non-urgent health advice or information, call Tele-Care. A registered nurse will assess your needs and provide information, education and/or advice as required. For access to this confidential and bilingual toll-free telephone service, 24 hours a day, seven days a week please dial:

8-1-1

For medical emergencies, call  911  immediately or visit your local emergency department.

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