What to Ask: Falls Prevention

A fall is one of the most common events that threaten the independence of older adults. Each year, up to a third of older adults living in the community suffers a fall. This number increases to almost two thirds among older adults who have a history of a fall in the past year. About half of all people in nursing homes fall each year.

Click on each of the topics below to display questions you can ask your healthcare provider about falls. 

Questions about Falls Prevention

  1. Someone I know fell recently. Is that a sign of aging?
  2. What causes a fall?
  3. What should I do after a fall?
  4. How could I prevent falling again?
  5. Are there exercises that help prevent falling?
  6. Are there things I can do to prevent hurting myself if I do fall?
  7. Is there a test that the doctor can order for me to see if I am likely to fall?
  8. What medical conditions can increase my risk of falling?
  9. Will limiting my activities prevent me from falling?
  10. Should I limit my activities because of the fall?
  11. I heard that if I fall, I would end up in a nursing home. Is that true? And how can I prevent it?

Questions about Walking and Balance

Problems with walking increase with age and are commonly associated with falls and disability in older adults. At least 20% of older adults living in the community have problems with walking. This increases to approximately 50% in adults 85 years old and older. Most of these problems are associated with underlying diseases, especially severe diseases. 

Here are questions you can ask your healthcare provider about walking and balance:

  1. As I get older, what kinds of changes should I expect in my walking?
  2. Is it normal for my walking speed to slow down?
  3. Are there tests to check my steadiness and walking?
  4. When should I ask my doctor to do a test for my walking problems?
  5. The doctor ordered a walker for me. Do I really need to use it?
  6. I have arthritis pain in my back and knee. Should I limit my activities?
  7. Will therapy help with my walking problems?
  8. Will therapy help my balance problem?