Managing your health and getting comfortable discussing falls with your health care provider are important steps to lower your risk for a potentially life-changing fall. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends you ask your doctor or healthcare provider to evaluate your risk for falling at least annually, and talk with them about specific things you can do to lower your falls risk.
Talking with your health care provider about falls
Their turn: Questions to ask your doctor
Ask your doctor about things you can do to lower your risk for falling.
- Are there any assistive devices that would be appropriate for me?
- What types of physical activity would be appropriate for me? Can you recommend exercises?
- Can you give me a referral for a home assessment to reduce my risk of falls at home?
- Are there community resources or classes that could help reduce my risk for falling?
You should also ask about any specific risk factors you may have.
- Chronic pain: What are my treatment options and how do they affect my risk for falling?
- Trouble sleeping: What can I do to safely get a full night's sleep so I can have the energy and alertness to stay safe.
- Medications: Can we review the medications I take and discuss how some of them may increase my risk for falling? (Check out these medication safety resources.)
- Vision loss: Can you give me a referral to have my vision checked?
- Hearing loss: Can you give me a referral to have my hearing checked?
Your turn: What to tell them (even if they don't ask)
The discussion with your doctor about falls must be a two-way conversation. It's important to tell your health care professional about any events or symptoms you've experienced in the past year that could contribute to a higher risk falling - even if he or she doesn't ask. Start by taking our Falls Risk Self-Assessment. Take note of your results and use them to start the conversation with your doctor.
Openly and honestly tell your doctor if, in the past year, you have:
- Fallen, or nearly fallen (i.e., slipped or tripped);
- Experienced problems with walking or balance;
- Felt muscle weakness or numbness in your legs or feet;
- Had swelling in your ankles or feet;
- Had difficulty breathing or shortness of breath;
- Felt dizzy or lightheaded, or fainted;
- Experienced changes in hearing or vision;
- Seen changes in your sleep patterns;
- Lived with chronic conditions like diabetes, arthritis and high or low blood pressure;
- Felt depressed for an extended period of time;
- Had difficulty doing daily activities at home, such as bathing or getting dressed; or
- Feel afraid of falling.