Tips for how to avoid slip and falls

Written By: Patrick Brown

We just talked about the importance of a medical alert system or formal buddy-system check-in for the elderly, largely because they’re prone to slips and falls. Why is that? Well, there are numerous reasons.

The American National Institute of Health has a lengthy list of factors that contribute to slip and falls including:

  • muscle weakness in the legs;
  • blood pressure dropping upon standing;
  • vision problems;
  • foot problems (swelling, pain);
  • medications that have side effects such as dizziness.

Earlier in this series on elder-safety, we touched on the importance of removing slipping hazards such as rugs, carpets or cords. Bright lighting is also essential. As personal injury lawyers in Toronto, we can confirm the statistic that over half of slips and falls do occur at home.

The Mayo Clinic has other practical suggestions. Its first is seeing your doctor to review your medication or to explore why you might find you are slipping or falling. It could be anything from an eye or ear infection causing vertigo to a heart problem.

What else does the Mayo Clinic recommend to avoid slip and falls?

Keep moving. If your doctor approves exercise on any level, do it. From walking to water aerobics or yoga, even low impact is high impact “to improve strength, balance, coordination and flexibility.”

Wear sensible shoes.  Kick off the stockings, socks, floppy slippers or high heels. Sturdy shoes with non-skid soles are going to make you safer.

Move hazards in the home.  This goes beyond the rugs, carpets and cords of earlier posts. Mayo has a number of recommendations, including “moving coffee tables, magazine racks and plant stands from high-traffic areas.” Make sure your path is clear.

Finally, move things to make them easier to reach. Put your often-used items on lower shelves or counters, where they’re easily accessible without stretching or using a footstool.

Patrick Brown


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