Resources for Individuals
These easy steps can reduce your risk of falls, allow you to continue the activities that you enjoy, and help maintain your independence!
Check your risk for falls
Do any of the following apply to you? The more you check the higher your risk for falls.
- I fell within the past year or am afraid of falling.
- I am sometimes unsteady on my feet.
- I sometimes feel dizzy or light-headed.
- I sometimes have numbness or tingling in my feet.
- I take more than two medications.
- I have difficulty with my vision.
- I have trouble stepping up and down curbs or steps.
- I sometimes have to rush to the bathroom.
Know your medicines
- Talk to doctor about your medicines and how they might affect your balance.
- Use a List of Medications and include over-the-counter pills (vitamins, patches, supplements, and herbals).
- Bring this list to every office visit and review medicines with your health care provider every time.
- Take your medicines as prescribed.
- Do not take a friend or family member's medicine.
- Do not mix your medications with alcohol.
- Report dizziness to your doctor — medicines that make you weak or dizzy.
Make your home safer
Conduct a home safety check, room by room, to identify hazards you can eliminate.
- HSSAT (Home Safety Self-Assessment Tool) (pdf)
- You can also pick up a free copy of this booklet at the Office for the Aging.
- CDC Checklist
• poor lighting • throw or scatter rugs • items or clutter in a path
Things you can do:
- Keep floors and stairs clear of clutter.
- Make sure stairways have secure railings and are well lit.
- Add night lights and keep a clear path from bed to bathroom.
- Clearly mark any changes in floor levels.
- Remove any scatter rugs.
- Install grab bars and bath seats in bathrooms.
- Move frequently-used kitchen and household items to within easy reach.
The following sections from the resource guide can also offer suggestions for how to fix the hazards you identify:
- Finding a Private Contractor - Certified Aging-In-Place Specialists (CAPS) are professionals who guide consumers in modifying their homes to age in place.
- Help for Low-Income Households
You are less likely to fall if your muscles and bones are stronger. Exercises can also improve your coordination and flexibility. The resource guide has a list of many strength and balance programs available in Tompkins County but be sure to speak with your doctor or physical therapist to decide what type of exercise program is appropriate for you.
You can also do one or two simple balance exercises daily in your home. Wear sturdy, well-fitting, flat-soled shoes with room to wiggle your toes. Be sure to stand at your kitchen sink or a sturdy support so you can take hold to recover your balance if needed while doing exercise.
Before you begin, ask your doctor which exercises are best for you.
- Easy Level: Stand on one leg for up to 10 seconds. Repeat 3-6 times for each leg.
- Moderate Level: Stand on one leg and very slowly swing the other leg forward and backward while maintaining your balance.
- Walking sideways: Very slowly step sideways bending your knees and lifting your foot as if you are stepping over something. Land gently: 2-3 steps one way then the other. The slower, the better.
- Walking forward and backward: Turn to the side and very slowly take a few steps forward, then backward. As you step, lift your foot as if stepping over something. REPEAT.
Sample balance exercises from How to Prevent Falls are available here.
For more information, please also consult our Falls Prevention Resource Guide.