Key Takeaways

  • As the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for older Americans, falls threaten seniors' safety and independence.

  • Through practical lifestyle adjustments, including tailoring your activities of daily living like how you get dressed, you can substantially decrease your chances of falling.

  • Use this simple dressing tip to prevent a fall when getting ready for the day.

Everyday we help older adults rebuild strength that's been lost in the aging process through our evidence-based program Geri-Fit®. Having helped many older adults gain strength and experience an improvement in balance and functional capacity, there are a handful of every day living tips that could lessen the chances of falling. 

What's a simple, preventative action that can be taken to reduce the risk of falling?

So what's one tip that you could introduce into your life? This is a question I often get: “What’s the best tip you can give me for fall prevention?” My immediate answer? When getting dressed, put your clothes on while sitting in a chair. 

This answer has provoked many a strange look and wonderment.  And that’s when I tell them the story of older adults feeling over-confident, even after building strength and balance.

At Geri-Fit, the evidence-based health promotion program I run, we get a lot of calls from happy older adult participants that have enrolled in our strength training program. To many, just being able to stand up from a seated position without holding onto something is a feat in itself.  But, sometimes the results are so astounding that we hear feedback on how much it’s improved their activities of daily living, like getting dressed in the morning. 

The comment we hear most is: “My balance has improved so much, I am now able to put my pants on,  one leg at a time, while standing up.”

“Oh gosh, NO!”, I'll say. And then I begin to tell them why. 

When you're putting on pants or underwear, the following practical tips can lessen your chance of falling by up to 95%. 

From a seated position or while laying down, follow these dressing tips: 

  1. Get the pants or shorts you want to wear and sit down in a chair.
  2. Put one leg into your pants, and then place your other leg into your pants.
  3. Make sure the pant cuffs clear your ankle (the hem should be above your ankle so that you are able to stand up freely.)
  4. Holding onto the waist portion of the pants, hike them up to your thighs, then stand up.
  5. Pull up, zip up, and button up. You’re all set!