Facts about falling

Each year, millions of older adults aged 65 and older fall. While falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among older Americans, they are not an inevitable part of aging. Fortunately, many falls are preventable with regular exercise and preventative care. 

Fall Risk

Older couple

Although one out of three older adults has fallen, less than 50% of seniors talk with their health care provider about falling.  Knowing your fall risk is an important first step in preventing future falls.  Talk with your health care provider about an individual fall risk assessment.

Reducing Fall Risk and Injury

Depending on the individual, there is usually no single best strategy or "quick fix" to prevent falls.  The best way to reduce your chance of falling is to find the combination of strategies that address your individual fall risk.  Here are some of the most effective ways to reduce falls:

  • Exercise regularly, focusing on increasing leg strength and improving balance.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines, both prescription and over the counter.
  • Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year.
  • Make your home safer by reducing trip hazards, improving lights, adding grab bars, and stair railings.
  • More information on preventing falls (PDF) (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Fall Prevention Classes at UC Davis

The UC Davis Trauma Prevention Program offers free fall prevention workshops using two different evidence based programs; Stepping On and A Matter Of Balance.  Both workshops are appropriate for older adults who:

  • Live independently at home.
  • Have fallen or are afraid of falling.
  • Are able to walk independently or with minimal assistance.
  • Have not been diagnosed with dementia

Stepping On- 7 week program

Stepping On  is a program that empowers older adults to carry out health behaviors that reduce the risks of falls.  It is a community-based workshop offered once a week for seven weeks using adult education and self-efficacy principles.  In a small-group setting, older adults learn balance exercises and develop specific knowledge and skills to prevent falls.  Workshops are facilitated by two trained leaders, one who is a professional who works with older adults, and one older adult who meets the criteria for the class.

During the class, participants learn:

  • Exercises to increase strength and balance.
  • The role vision plays in keeping your balance.
  • How medications can contribute to falls.
  • Ways to stay safe when out and about in your community.
  • What to look for in safe footwear.
  • How to check your home for safety hazards.

A Matter of Balance- 8 week program

A Matter of Balance (PDF):  Managing Concerns About Falls is a program designed to reduce the fear of falling and increase activity levels among older adults.  The program includes eight two-hour sessions for small groups led by two trained facilitators.  During the class, participants learn to:

  • Exercise to increase strength and balance.
  • View falls as controllable.
  • Set goals for increasing activity.
  • Recognize fall hazards in the community.
  • Recognize physical risk factors for falls.
  • Make changes to reduce fall risk at home.

Workshop Registration

There is no cost to attend workshops, however, registration is required.  Class format is small group discussion; spaces are limited to 14 participants per workshop.  For more information about available workshop dates and times contact:  Cathy Morris 916-734-9784 or cemorris@ucdavis.edu