Keeping Seniors Safe, Preventing Falls

Understanding fear and risks can prevent falls

In Lake County, more than 60 percent of people over age 65 who go to an emergency department do so because of a fall. Nationally, falls are the leading cause of injury death among senior citizens. Use this quiz to test your knowledge about helping yourself, a family member or a neighbor stay safe.


The cause of most falls among seniors is:

  • Loss of strength and muscle tone
  • Fear of falling, which increases inactivity and loss of flexibility
  • Medications that cause unsteadiness or drowsiness
  • Poor lighting, loose carpets and other dangerous conditions
  • Answer: All of the above


Footwear styles are largely unrelated to senior falls.

  • True – Falls occur because of fear and inactivity, regardless of shoes
  • Answer: False – Uncomfortable shoes or those with high heels can lead to falls


The primary psychological factor that contributes to senior falls is:

  • Seniors see themselves as still young, strong and agile
  • As people age, it becomes more difficult for them to change
  • Seniors are less concerned about safety and quality of life
  • Answer: Seniors do not ask for help out of fear of losing their independence


Behavior modification is critical to preventing senior falls.

  • False – Full-time care and oversight is the best strategy to prevents falls
  • Answer: True – Addressing fear of falling and risky habits will prevent falls


For Lake County residents age 75 to 84, hospital admission for falls has:

  • Stayed about the same since 2008, with more than 600 falls annually
  • Remained high since 2008, but is gradually declining each year
  • Answer: Risen steadily since 2008, with 802 falls occurring in 2010

Preserve your independence with “A Matter of Balance”

Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital physical therapists Kathy Schulte, PT, and Theresa Montella, PT, have teamed up with the Lake County Health Department to offer “A Matter of Balance,” an affordable, research-based fall prevention program for seniors.

Falls stem from lack of flexibility and muscle tone, as well as fear: fear of the fall itself, which further limits mobility, and fear of appearing to need help. This program helps change the behavior and inactivity that contributes to the high number of senior falls in Lake County.

The program includes:

  • One two-hour session each week, for eight consecutive weeks
  • Instruction by Northwestern Lake Forest licensed physical therapists
  • Problem-solving, tips and discussion, followed by 40 minutes of light exercise, strength building and cool down
  • A break in between activities
  • No physician referral required–simply call to register!

Fee is $20.00 for the full eight sessions. For more information or to register, please call Kathy Schulte, PT, at 847.535.7564.

Learn More about Senior Health