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Falls Prevention

worried that you might fall?


keep you and loved ones safe

Have you fallen, or are you worried that you might fall?  Are you concerned that a friend, loved one or client is at risk?  If so, you are not alone.  Falls can happen anytime and anyplace, but most often they occur at home during everyday activities. The good news is that falls are NOT a normal part of aging and CAN be prevented.

It’s important to look at what might trigger a fall for you or someone you care about.

Check out this Falls Risk Survey from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention:

If you have 4 or more points, contact your healthcare provider for a complete falls risk screening, and check the links below for resources that can help you or someone you care about stay safe and independent.

After you’ve completed the checklist, make sure to take advantage of the available resources, such as falls prevention classes, to help you or someone you care about stay safe and independent. Some suggestions are below.

fall risk: know the facts


An older adult falls every second of every day

1 IN 4

One in four older adults reported a fall in 2014


Falls are the #1 cause of hip fractures.


falls prevention resources

Local Vision Resources:

Poor eyesight can lead to an increased chance of tripping, bumping into things and falling.

Falls Free WI Center: The FFWI Center has lots of helpful information about effective strategies for preventing falls, a home safety challenge, and data for WI and each WI County regarding falls. 

Office for the Blind and Visually Impaired

1 W. Wilson St.
PO Box 2659
Madison, WI 53701-2659

Website: OBVI Contact Information | Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Services for eligible consumers to meet their independent living goals may include:

  1. Vision Rehabilitation Therapy services constitute the broad array of skills needed to teach individuals who are blind or visually impaired to function independently at home and/or in a work environment, and to participate in community life. These include communication techniques, activities of daily living, personal management, home management, leisure management, medical management, indoor orientation, and community integration.
  2. Low Vision Therapy services screen and assess functional visual abilities and visual deficits using specialized evaluation instruments. In collaboration with an ophthalmologist and/or optometrist who manage eye health and treatment, a Low Vision Therapist provides training in the use of low vision equipment, techniques, and environmental modifications for enhanced visual functioning.
  3. Orientation and Mobility services are provided in a sequence of instruction to individuals with visual impairment in the use of their remaining senses to determine their position within the environment, and in techniques for safe movement from one location to another.
  4. Accessible computer technology service providers, specific to computer accessibility for individuals who are blind, help individuals with visual disabilities acquire and use appropriate accessible computer technology to assist them in activities of daily living, employment and education.
  5. Information and referral about and to community resources, including peer support groups, that will help meet individualized consumer needs.
  6. Assisting the consumer in understanding the medical and psychosocial aspects of visual impairments, and provide individual advocacy training.
  7. Other independent living services.

UW Health Eye Care Clinic

2880 University Ave
University Station
Madison, WI 53705
(608) 263-7171


Provides eye exams (only) for uninsured and underinsured patients. (Lions Club may cover cost of glasses, for City of Madison residents only). Referrals are made from outside agencies or clinics, including, but not limited to: Access Community Health Centers, MEDiC Clinics, Porchlight, Public Health Madison and Dane County, Safe Haven Transitional Housing, The Salvation Army and school nurses. Clinic is run by two residents and one faculty once a month. Appointments should be made by referring clinic following a financial screening. Patients requiring a follow-up appointment during regular clinic hours will be billed a full-fee clinic visit. Financial arrangements can be made by contacting UW Hospital and Clinics Business Office.

Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired

754 Williamson Street
Madison, WI 53703


Online catalog, Sharper Vision Store, providing adaptive products for people with vision loss

  • Braille and tactile aids (equipment sales, training, information, client evaluation, and product demonstration)
  • Low vision aids (equipment sales, training, information, client evaluation, and product demonstration)
  • Daily living aids (sales, training, information, client evaluation, and product demonstration)
  • Blind mobility aids (sales, training, information, and client evaluation)

Check Your Medication: Medication Review Resources

Side effects from medicines can sometimes increase your chance of falling.

Medications Linked to Falls-Resource from CDC (PDF)

Postural Hypotension-Resource from CDC (PDF)

Falls Free WI Center: The FFWI Center has lots of helpful information about effective strategies for preventing falls, a home safety challenge, and data for WI and each WI County regarding falls. 

Wisconsin Pharmacy Quality Collaborative

The Wisconsin Pharmacy Quality Collaborative (WPQC) is an initiative of the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin (PSW) which connects community pharmacists with patients, physicians, and health plans to improve the quality and reduce the cost of medication use across Wisconsin. This team-based approach has brought stakeholders together in a unique collaboration with the goal of ensuring safe and high-quality care to patients in Wisconsin.  WPQC coordinates a network of pharmacies with certified pharmacists who have received specific Medication Therapy Management (MTM) training. WPQC pharmacists meet privately with patients to review medication regimens, communicate potential opportunities to improve medication use with physicians and other health care providers, and educate patients on the appropriate use of their medications. The medication use and safety goals of WPQC are to resolve drug therapy problems, improve adherence and coordination of care, and engage patients in their own care. Click here to access list of WPQC pharmacy locations.

MedDrop Program

Find out where to safely dispose of unused or unwanted medications. MedDrop is a safe, secure way to dispose of unwanted medications which could unintentionally be consumed by children and others, or be scavenged from the trash and sold illegally. MedDrop disposal reduces the amount of improperly disposed medicine that can eventually contaminate area rivers, lakes, and streams. For more information, Click Here.

Home Safety Resources:

A cluttered or unorganized home can leave many items to trip, bump into or fall from.

Safety Checklist from the CDC (PDF)

Falls Free WI Center: The FFWI Center has lots of helpful information about effective strategies for preventing falls, a home safety challenge, and data for WI and each WI County regarding falls. 

AgeBetter Today

6209 Mineral Point Rd., Suite 210
Madison, WI 53705
(608) 230-4445 

AgeBetter’s Safe at Home program provides FREE home safety assessments to any Dane County older adult in an effort to prevent falls and provide helpful fall prevention resources. Call or email Ann today to schedule an assessment! ( Brochure: Safe at Home brochure

SSM Health Medical Equipment

4639 Hammersley Road
Madison, WI 53711
(800) 924-2273

All our retail stores have an extensive supply of home medical equipment and supplies to assist patients and caregivers with treatments and care as well as increase mobility, safety, independence and comfort.

SSM Health Personal Emergency Response System

4639 Hammersley Road
Madison, WI 53711
(855) 332-6882

Subscribers wear a pendant, and in the event of a fall or other emergency, pressing the activator button will alert monitoring personnel who will contact the subscriber to ensure they are safe, or will contact other designated emergency responders as needed. VoiceCare gives subscribers and their loved ones peace of mind knowing help is available with the push of a button.

Sharing Active Independent Lives (SAIL)

Oakwood Village University Woods Campus
6209 Mineral Point Road #210
Madison, WI 53705

Supporting Active Independent Lives (SAIL) is a vibrant non-profit membership organization of people 55+ who reside in the Dane county area. SAIL members wish to remain active, independent, in their own homes, and socially connected, and have found that navigating the many changes brought on by age is much easier with the resources offered by SAIL. Membership includes referrals to pre-screened service providers, discounted emergency pendants, daily automated check-in service, house checks, shredding services, wellness services, social events and clubs, member-helping-member volunteer opportunities, discounts to Madison School & Community Recreation (MSCR) programs, Home Health United medical equipment, quarterly mattress flipping and other member perks!

William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital

(available to veterans who qualify-contact your VA physician)

Adaptive Remodeling Solutions

6200 Sylvan Ln
Monona, WI 53716

Adaptive Remodeling Solutions, LLC work to provide older adults and individuals with special needs with the home remodeling solutions that they need to remain independent. This includes remodeling kitchens, bathrooms, and other home modifications that make a home more accessible.

Accessibility Plus

125 Garnet Ln.
Madison, WI 53714
(608) 335-6779

Accessibility Plus is focused exclusively on making the home a safer place for individuals who are physically challenged due to a disability or aging. Our in-home safety assessments and home safety modification services are provided by an Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA).

Project Home

3841 Kipp St.
Madison, WI 53718

Makes home repairs, accessibility modifications and energy improvements to make homes healthier, safer and to ease the financial burden of high energy bills for people who are struggling financially. The Serving Those Who Served program provides home repairs, accessibility modifications, and energy efficient improvements to veterans with low-to-moderate income.

UW Health Care Direct

Including Home Health & Home Medical Equipment and Supplies
1345 Deming Way
Middleton, WI 53562
(608) 203-2273


Home Medical Equipment & Supplies services include:

  • Oxygen (concentrators, liquid and portables)
  • Sleep disorder evaluations and equipment
  • Home ventilators
  • Infant apnea monitors
  • Home beds and patient lifts
  • Mobility equipment (wheelchairs, walkers, canes,
    crutches, etc.)
  • Home medical supplies
  • Caregiver education programs
  • Clinical consultation and training
  • Clinical respiratory services
  • 24-hour, 7-day-a-week service

Local Exercise Resources

Weak muscles and joints can make you unsteady, increasing the chance of falling.

Falls Free WI Center: The FFWI Center has lots of helpful information about effective strategies for preventing falls, a home safety challenge, and data for WI and each WI County regarding falls. 

Safe Communities

2352 S. Park St., Ste 302
Madison, WI 53713
Phone: (608) 441-3060
Fall Prevention Classes | Safe Communities Madison, WI (
Learn about community resources and classes (both evidence-based and evidence-informed) that could help prevent a fall. Classes include Stepping On, Living Falls Free, Tai Chi Fundamentals, Moving for Better Balance, Ballroom Basics for Balance, and many more!

UW Health Mobility & Falls Clinic Locations

5249 E. Terrace Dr.
Madison, WI 53718
(608) 265-1210
Mobility & Falls Clinic Website

5543 E. Cheryl Pkwy.
Fitchburg, WI 53711
(608) 263-7740
Mobility & Falls Clinic Website

The Mobility and Falls Clinic is for our older adults who may be at risk for losing independence, who are experiencing:

  • Recurrent falls with or without physical injury
  • Fear of falling with functional consequences
  • Declining mobility and function

Madison School & Community Recreation 50+ Programs

(608) 204-3023

MSCR 50+ programs include aqua exercise, strength training, low impact fitness, yoga, Tai Chi, golf, walking clubs and many more at affordable prices.

falls prevention education

Thanks to our Falls Free Dane coalition partners for making these educational videos possible!


falls prevention classes

Classes are categorized by risk level: low, mild, and medium. For an individual with a high risk of falling, the recommendation is to talk with a primary care provider about exploring physical therapy as a treatment option. For other risk levels, there are certain types of community-based classes that may be more suitable than others.

All classes listed on our website have been awarded the “Balance Stamp of Approval” which is designated with this logo:  The Balance Stamp of Approval means the classes contain certain types of exercises that promote balance. For more information about the criteria for improving strength and balance via community-based classes,  Click Here (

For an individual who is mobile and active and would like to maintain activity that helps
promote balance, these classes are good options. Class examples may include dance, Tai Chi, yoga, and some forms of martial arts.

Classes Offered

Tai Chi: Tai chi is a form of Chinese martial arts that is known for its mind-body practice through slow, intentional movements. Breathing with movement and fluidity of movement are both important aspects of the practice. Research has shown that Tai Chi has many health benefits, one of which is improving balance among older adults.

Parkour for Seniors: Travel through your world with joy and creativity! Learn balance and coordination, work on preventing falls, find more flexibility in your body and more movement options for your life! The curriculum is informed by PK Silver, the world’s first and only evidence-based parkour program for older adults.

Ballroom Basics for Balance: Challenge your balance and make it better with basic moves of ballroom dance!  Research shows that dance is one way to improve balance and reduce falls.
This class is for you if:

  • You want to get better at walking or moving around on various surfaces, both inside and outside (like carpets, grass, and snowy walkways).
  • You have had at least one fall in the past year or have a fear of falling.
  • You are able to participate in medium-difficult activity without major health symptoms (like chest pain, shortness of breath, or dizziness).
  • You are able to move about on your own with or without a device to help you.
  • You can hear and see well enough to participate in a group class.
  • You are interested in having fun!

You will learn basic movements of traditional smooth and Latin style ballroom dances with and without music; you can practice on your own or with a partner in this group class.  We will learn to dance while learning about improving balance.  No experience or partner needed! Taught by physical therapists and other health care professionals.

Yoga: Yoga also has many health benefits, including improving balance through breath work and movements that not only stretch muscles but improve flexibility. Other benefits of yoga include reduced stress and better sleep.

Martial Arts (Aikido): According to Aakido of Madison, Aikido is a modern Japanese martial art with deep roots in samurai tradition. On first seeing the art many people are surprised at how dance-like it looks. There are several reasons for this, but the most important is that Aikido, like dance, involves blending with someone else’s movement and energy. In Aikido, the purpose blending is to use the attacker’s force and intent as a means to subdue and control him or her. To accomplish this, Aikido uses joint locks, hip throws, sweeps and throws or “projections.” 

For an individual who is mobile and active and has some concern about falling, these classes
are good options because they are more intentionally focused on improving balance.

Classes Offered

Living Falls Free: Living Falls Free is a practical falls risk reduction exercise class. Course content includes learning the exercises of the No Falls Program as well as learning falls risk reduction strategies specific for your life. Class includes a take-home exercise program and pre-class evaluation. This is a moderate level class with walking, rocker boards, strength work, and exercise at standing, chair, and floor level. Gait dynamics and movement techniques are emphasized.

Balancing Act: This introductory exercise program is designed to increase balance and decrease the risk of falling by using Tai Chi movements and principles. Exercises are primarily from a standing position. Adapted chair-based exercises are available to meet individual needs. There is no floor work.

For an individual who is mobile and has experienced a fall or is fearful of falling, Stepping On is an evidence-based falls prevention program proven to reduce falls among program completers by
30%. Stepping On falls under “medium risk” and is a class that combines strength and balance exercises
with valuable information on effective falls prevention strategies.

Classes Offered

Stepping On: Stepping On is an evidence-based falls prevention program that has been proven to reduce falls among program completers by 31%. Guest experts including a pharmacist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, vision expert, and community safety expert who share resources about effective strategies for preventing falls. Strength and balance exercises are a component of this class. Ideal candidates for Stepping On are individuals who have experienced a fall and/or who are concerned about falling. Participants must be mobile enough to participate in exercises (not rely upon an assistive device inside their homes) and have no cognitive challenges, such as dementia and/or Alzheimer’s.

Falls Free Dane Coalition


Bill Huisheere

Chair, Falls Free Dane Coalition


Cheryl Wittke

Executive Director, Safe Communities

Ashley Hillman

Falls Prevention Program Manager, Safe Communities


Charlie Daniel

African American Opioid Coalition Founder; Diversity & Inclusion Manager, Safe Communities

Falls Free Dane Coalition Members:


related news


Treatment Key

Safe communities has complied a list of abbreviation definitions for finding the right treatment for you.

MAT: Medication for Addiction Treatment.
OP: Outpatient Treatment – person lives at home or in the community, attends. individual and group therapy, these can include or not include MAT.
IOP: Intensive Outpatient Treatment – person lives at home or in the community, attends individual and extended groups, 9-12 hours a week.
Residential: person lives at the facility for a period of at least 14 days, some last as many as 45 days.
PHP: Partial Hospitalization Program is a structured mental health treatment program that runs for several hours each day, three to five days per week.
DBT: Dialectical behavior therapy is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that integrates mindfulness techniques.