Brenda Lyle – Florida Today

Q: How can I prevent falls as I age?

A: During a recent check-up, my doctor asked me if I had fallen in the last three months. What? Is 55 the magic age for asking about falls? Does missing the bottom step count? ALL people fall. My three-year-old granddaughter falls almost daily. The truth is, some adults navigate a mine field of furniture, pets, throw rugs and more. Medications can cause dizziness. The sidewalk can jump up and grab you out of nowhere.


It’s a Big Deal

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over 14 million (one in four) people 65 and older fall each year– although less than half tell their doctor. It’s important to come clean about your fall history, since the risk of death or serious injury from falls increases with age. Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults. And falling once doubles your chance of falling again. Limiting your activity is NOT the answer, as weakness increases the risk of a second fall!


Fall Risk Management

For people 65 and older, a “fall risk assessment” can be helpful. Usually conducted by a health care professional, it includes medical history, medication review, fall history and a test of your strength, balance, and gait.

  • Timed Up-and-Go (gait). You’ll start in a chair, stand up, and then walk about 10 feet at your regular pace and sit down again.
  • 30-Second Chair Stand (strength and balance). You’ll sit in a chair with your arms crossed over your chest. Then, you’ll stand up and sit down again — repeatedly. Your provider will count how many times you can do this in 30 seconds.
  • 4-Stage Balance (maintaining balance). If you can’t hold various positions for the prescribed number of seconds or you can’t stand on one leg for 5 seconds, you may be at higher risk for a fall.


Help prevent falls with a healthy diet that protects your bones and muscles and an exercise regimen to improve your strength and balance! See your physician annually and have your vision checked every two years after age 65. Declutter your home. Working with a Certified Care Manager? Clients receive an in-home safety assessment to identify anything that could precipitate a fall. Even inappropriate footwear is a risk! Luckily, many shoe stores will do a comprehensive analysis of your feet and recommend a safe style of shoe. For more tips, join us for an expert panel event on fall prevention, June 20 in Viera. RSVP online at or by calling 321-751-6771.


One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging. Brenda Lyle is a Certified Care Manager and Certified Dementia Practitioner with One Senior Place, Greater Orlando.