Talking With Health Professionals About Home Safety

Talking With Health Professionals About Home Safety

Health professionals can identify ways to reduce the older adult's risk of falling, suggest resources and help explore options.

If the older adult falls, is unsteady or worries about falling, tell their health professional right away.

Otherwise, the older adult or you can ask during a medical appointment how to prevent falls. If you can collect information beforehand, the health professional will have a fuller picture of the older adult's situation.

To help health professionals determine and address the older adult's fall risks, tell them about any:

  • Changes in walking, like limping, and when they started
  • Difficulty lifting the feet when walking
  • Pain or signs of pain, including groaning, grimacing or favoring parts of the body
  • Recent changes in activities, behavior or mood
  • New medications or changes to medications
  • Sores, redness or signs of irritation on either foot
  • Problems with shoes not being comfortable or supportive

If the older adult falls, important details to share with health professionals include if the older adult:

  • Was hurt
  • Tripped on something
  • Fell while standing up
  • Lost consciousness
  • Felt dizzy, or had chest pain or trouble breathing before falling
  • Lost bowel or bladder control during or after the fall
  • Stayed on the floor after falling - and if so, for how long
  • Could get up on their own after having fallen
  • Had a personal alert or phone within reach and if the older adult used it
  • Had any previous falls - and if so, whether the falls were around the same time of day, when doing similar activities or had anything else in common

If the older adult or you have multiple concerns or questions, ask if you can schedule a longer appointment with the health professional. When you make the appointment, tell them you want to discuss falls, fall risks or fall prevention.