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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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Older Adult Falls Prevention

Contact Injury Prevention

  •  850-245-4440
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    Fax

    850-414-6470
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    Mailing Address

    Injury Prevention Section 

    4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin A22 

    Tallahassee, FL 32399-1722 

Overview

Unintentional falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among Florida residents ages 65 years and older.

In 2015, 2,603 older adults were fatally injured in a fall.

In addition to deaths and injuries, as well as the costs associated with them, falls can have many negative consequences for older adults, including:

  • Fear of falling again
  • Forced relocation from the home
  • Loss of independence
  • Stress in the family

By reducing their chance of a fall, older adults can stay independent and have an increased quality of life.

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Preventing Falls Among Older Adults

There are many reasons why an older adult might fall, including a variety of biological, behavioral, and environmental factors. These risk factors include:

  • A previous fall
  • Chronic health conditions (e.g., arthritis, stroke)
  • Conditions in the home (e.g., slippery floors, loose rugs, cords on the floor, poor lighting)
  • Fear of falling
  • Medicines (including interaction effects)
  • Mobility problems (e.g., muscle weakness, balance)
  • Poor nutrition (leading to weakness, dizziness, fainting)
  • Poor vision or hearing

Older adults who have one or more of these conditions may have a higher risk of falling. The following practices are recommended for older adults to reduce their chances of falling and help them stay independent:

  • Exercising regularly (especially leg strengthening and improving balance)
  • Having an eye doctor check their vision at least once a year
  • Making their home environment safer
  • Reviewing their medicines with a doctor or pharmacist

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Interventions

There are evidence-based interventions for older adults, including programs designed specifically to prevent falls. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has resources available for providers interested in these interventions, including a compendium of evidence based fall interventions and a guide on developing community based falls prevention programs. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) also has information about evidence based programs. A few of the interventions being conducted in Florida include:

  •  A Matter of Balance
  • Otago
  • Stepping On
  • Tai JiQuan:  Moving for Better Balance (previously known as Tai Chi:  Moving for Better Balance)

Older adults interested in participating in a community based program should contact their local Aging and Disability Resource Center.

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