A fall can be very serious for an older person. It happens far too often and for various reasons. One third to one half of the elderly will experience a fall each year. A fall can result in injury, chronic pain, reduced quality of life and, in severe cases, death. Many independent seniors must move to continuing care after a fall. Even without an injury, a fall can cause a loss of confidence and a reduction in activities. 20% of seniors will die within the first year following a hip fracture and 50% will never regain their pre-hip fracture functioning. Here are some simple ways to help prevent falls. 1. Check Your Medications Every year have your doctor or pharmacist review all medications that you are taking. As you age, the way some medications affect you can change and increase your risk of falling. Medications include prescriptions, over-the-counter pills, vitamins and herbal supplements. Medications that relax you, help you sleep, or improve your mood can increase your risk of falling. Alcohol affects medication – be careful. 2. Keep Active Regular physical activity and exercise can increase muscle strength, improve balance and help prevent falls. Ask your doctor or health provider about the best type of exercise program for you. Do at least 30 minutes of activity a day. Try walking, dancing, swimming or taking an exercise class. 3. Watch Your Step Keep pathways, halls and stairways well lit and free of clutter. Watch out for ice, cracks and uneven surfaces while walking. Wear shoes that support your feet and help you keep your balance. Make sure furniture is stable and won't move if used for support. Ensure that rugs won’t slip. Install bars in the bathtub, shower or by the toilet; hand-held shower hoses are also useful. Avoid rushing and doing too many things at once. Have your eyes checked every year. 4. Keep a list of emergency numbers by all phones.Learn more about falls and fall prevention in this video produced in partnership with NorQuest College.