Find out what you can do to prevent falls by taking our Take Action to Prevent Falls Check-up

The Take Action to Prevent Falls Check-up helps you learn what is putting you at risk of falling. Answer yes or no to the questions below. After each question, you will learn about your personal risk factors and what you can do to prevent falls. At the end of the Check-up, you will get a summary of your falls prevention recommendations.

Physical Activity

Are you physically active for at least 30 minutes a day?

Great work! You are meeting the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for older adults which recommends that adults aged 65 years and older do 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity each week. In addition to helping prevent you from falling, being active helps reduce your risk of chronic disease and maintain your physical and mental health.

Being physically active not only reduces your risk of falling, but also your risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.  Regular activity helps you maintain your physical and mental health. The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that adults aged 65 years and older do 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity each week in sessions of 10 minutes or more. This means doing at least 20-30 minutes of physical activity every day.

Balance and Strength

Do you have difficulty keeping your balance, walking on your own or getting up from a chair?

Good balance and strong muscles help protect you from falling. If you have difficulty walking, getting out of a chair or using the stairs, you may be more likely to fall. The good news is that people of all ages can improve their balance and strength. Doing balance and strength exercises regularly is the single best way to reduce your risk of falling!  You can:

Good balance and strong muscles help protect you from falling. Balance usually starts to decline in women in their 40s and men in their 60s. The good news is that doing exercises that challenge balance and build strength can stop this from happening. Exercise is the single best way to decrease your falls risk! This website lets you search for exercise programs in Winnipeg and DVDs that meet the recommendations for falls prevention. It also gives you balance and strength exercises that you can do at home.

Footwear Choices

Do you wear shoes with high heels or slippery soles, or do your shoes fit poorly?

Shoes with high or narrow heels, slippery soles and shoes that don’t fit properly can cause you to lose your balance and fall. Choose shoes that fit snugly, have a good grip, a non-slip sole and lots of contact with the ground, (for example shoes with a flat or low wide heel). See our footwear information sheet.

Choosing safe footwear is important in preventing falls and it sounds like you are on the right track. When choosing footwear, pick shoes that have a non-slip sole with good grip, and lots of contact with the ground (for example, shoes with a flat or low wide heel.)  Avoid shoes with high or narrow heels, flip-flops, slippers and stretched or loose shoes. For more information read our footwear information sheet.

Do you wear slippers or stocking feet when you are at home?

It is important to wear good, supportive shoes inside your home. Avoid stocking feet and slippers as they can cause you to slip and fall.

It is important to wear good, supportive shoes inside your home. Avoid stocking feet and slippers as they can cause you to slip and fall.

Medication Use

Are you taking three or more medications a day
OR
Are you taking sleeping pills, anti-depressants, antihypertensives, painkillers or other medications that make you drowsy or light-headed?

While medications can help with health problems, some may put you at risk of falling. To reduce your risk of falls, it is recommended that you:

  • Take less than three medications. This includes prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications and herbal and homeopathic supplements.
  • Avoid medications that make you drowsy or light headed such as sleeping pills, anti-depressants, anti-hypertensives and painkillers.
  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to ensure you are taking the right medications and doses. Discuss side effects or interactions that may make you more likely to fall and ask if alternative medications are available.
  • Have your medications reviewed by a doctor or pharmacist every 6 – 12 months or when your medications change.
  • Call the Medication Information Line for Everyone (204-474-6493) if you have questions about your medications.

This is good news – medications are not currently putting you at risk of falling! Before you take any over-the-counter product or are prescribed a new medication, ask your doctor or pharmacist about side effects and interactions that may make you more likely to fall. If you have any questions about medications, you can also call the Medication Information Line for Everyone (204-474-6493).

Vision

Has it been more than 12 months since your eyes were tested or your glasses checked?

Have your eyes been checked by your eye care specialist at least every 2 years. Residents of Personal Care Homes may be able to get their eyes checked through the Focus on Falls Prevention Vision program. Call (204) 788-8496 for more information.

You are doing well to get your eyes tested regularly. Have your eyes checked by your eye care specialist at least every two years.

Do you have trouble seeing well enough to move safely at home or when you are out?

Taking care of your eyes and vision helps you enjoy everyday life and can help prevent a fall.  Be sure to:

  • Tell a family member or friend you are having trouble seeing and get the help you need to move around safely.
  • Limit your activities as needed until you get your vision checked.
  • Take care when walking up and down steps and stepping off curbs.
  • Give your eyes time to adjust when you go into a darker or brighter area .

Even small changes to your vision can increase your risk of falling. It is recommended that you:

  • Check your vision regularly by testing if you can clearly see objects in the distance and easily read up close.
  • Call your eye specialist if you start to notice that your vision is blurry, your eyes are sensitive to glare or slower to adjust to light, you are less able to differentiate similar colors, or you are having difficulty judging depth and distance.

Hazards Around Your Home

Are there hazards in and around your home that could cause you to fall?

Most falls in older adults happen at home, so it is important to remove any hazards.

  • Use our Home Safety Checklist to help you identify hazards in your home and take action to make your home safer.
  • The SafetyAid program provides a free safety audit of your home to those living in Winnipeg and some rural communities in Manitoba. Contact Age and Opportunity at (204) 956-6440, (888) 333-1808 or info@ageopportunity.mb.ca for more information.

It sounds like you are doing a great job keeping your home hazard-free. Since the majority of falls in older adults happen at home and conditions do change, it is important to check your home regularly.

  • Use our Home Safety Checklist to help you identify hazards in your home and take action to make your home safer.
  • The SafetyAid program provides a free safety audit of your home to those living in Winnipeg and some rural communities in Manitoba. Contact Age and Opportunity at (204) 956-6440, (888) 333-1808 or info@ageopportunity.mb.ca for more information.

Hazards In Your Community

Do you see hazards that could cause a fall when you are out in your community?

Reporting hazards in your community is important to prevent you and others from falling. These include uneven sidewalks, unclosed drains or broken curbs. Call your local municipality to report hazards (in Winnipeg call 311).

Hazards in your community, such as uneven sidewalks, unclosed drains or broken curbs, can increase the chance that you or others will fall. Report any hazards you see to your local municipality (in Winnipeg call 311).

Activity Choices

Do you do activities that put you at risk of falling (e.g. climbing a ladder)?

If you do activities such as climbing a ladder to change a light bulb or shoveling snow, you are putting yourself at risk of falling. To reduce this risk, ask a relative or friend for help, or contact the Good Neighbours Active Living Centre Home Maintenance Program (204-806-1303 or hmprogram@gnalc.ca).

You are making a good choice by not doing activities that put you at risk of falling. If you need help with little jobs around the house, remember to ask a relative or friend for help, or contact the Good Neighbours Active Living Centre Home Maintenance Program (204-806-1303 or hmprogram@gnalc.ca).

Health Problems

Do you have problems with arthritis, diabetes, your blood pressure or heart, or with bladder control?

Long-term health conditions such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, depression, arthritis and heart conditions can increase your risk of falling. Ask your health provider if your health condition increases your risk of falling and what you can do about it.

It’s great that you are staying healthy. Be sure to have a physical check up every year to check your overall health, but also contact your doctor if you don’t feel right.

Do you have problems with your concentration or memory?

Getting distracted or not concentrating on what you are doing can cause you to lose your balance and fall. Stay focused on what you are doing, take your time and take breaks if you start to get tired or lose concentration.

Getting distracted or not concentrating on what you are doing can cause you to lose your balance and fall. Stay focused on what you are doing, take your time and take breaks if you start to get tired or lose concentration.

Nutrition

Do you eat less than three nutritious meals every day?

Poor nutrition and skipping meals can cause dizziness, light-headedness and reduced concentration, all of which can lead to a fall. Try to:

  • Eat at least 3 meals every day which include fruits, vegetables and foods high in protein and calcium.
  • Take a daily vitamin D supplement in a dose of at least 1000 IU to keep your bones strong and to prevent chronic disease, cancer and falls.

Good work! Eating healthy foods makes you feel good and can prevent long term health conditions. In addition to healthy eating, take a vitamin D supplement in a dose of at least 1000 IU every day to keep your bones strong and to prevent chronic disease, cancer and falls.

Do you drink less than 5 glasses of water or more than one alcoholic drink per day?

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration, confusion and dizziness. Drink at least 5 glasses of water each day and limit your intake of alcohol.

Keeping hydrated is important for your health. Drink at least 5 glasses of water each day and limit your intake of alcohol.

Previous Falls

Have you fallen in the last year?

If you have previously fallen, this increases your chance of falling again. It is important to act now to prevent another fall from happening.

  • Review the falIs prevention recommendations given to you throughout this checklist and make a plan of how you are going to reduce your falls risk.
  • If you have questions about the information you have been given, print a copy of your summary and discuss it with your healthcare provider, or contact Health Links – Info Santé at 204-788-8200.

This is excellent news! To continue to stay strong on your feet:

  • Review the falIs prevention recommendations given to you throughout this checklist and make a plan of how you are going to reduce your risk of falling.
  • If you have questions about the information you have been given, print a copy of your summary and discuss it with your healthcare provider, or contact Health Links – Info Santé at 204-788-8200.

You have now completed the Take Action to Prevent Falls Check-up.

Your answers to these questions suggest that you may be at risk of falling. The good news is that falls can be prevented. Knowing what is putting you at risk is the first step towards preventing a fall.

A summary of your falls prevention recommendations are listed below. Review these recommendations and make a plan of how you will decrease your chance of falling. If you have any questions about the information you have been given, print a copy of your summary and discuss it with your healthcare provider, or contact Health Links – Info Santé at 204-788-8200.

Things you can improve on:

    Things you are doing well: