Reducing Your Risk Of Falling

This section outlines the summary of falls’ risk factors and advice on how you can reduce each risk. Some risk factors are more common than others and are explored in greater detail within this directory.

It is a sad truth that people who fall are at an increased risk of falling again if no action is taken to reduce risk. According to AgeUK three quarters of falls are not reported. Always report a fall to a healthcare professional.

Tips for Talking to Your GP About Falls

This new leaflet provides practical tips on talking to you GP if you have had a fall or are concerned about falling.

Your Falls Free Plan (AgeUK)

You can use this booklet to make a plan of things that you can do to reduce your risk of having a fall.

Home Safety Checker (AgeUK)

This booklet covers general safety in the home and provides a checklist of hazards within the kitchen, the stairs, the bathroom, the bedroom, the garden and fire safety.

Staying Steady (AgeUK)

‘Staying Steady’ gives an all round view of falls prevention advice.

Top Tips For Staying Steady

This ONE PAGE FACTSHEET covers the top tips for staying steady

Saga in association with the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) and Public Health England (PHE) has published a 32-page guide to preventing falls. CLICK HERE to view their booklet.

Risk Factors

Alcohol

  • Stay within the recommended safe limits.
  • Know the unit value of what you are drinking.
  • Never mix alcohol and medication.

See our New Factsheet on Home Accidents and Alcohol – The Risks as You Get Older.

See the booklet for free recipes – Mocktails: Tasty, Healthy, Non-Alcoholic Drinks

New Alcohol Guidelines have been developed by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.

(see the section on Lifestyle factors within this directory)

Bone health and osteoporosis

  • Eat a healthy well balanced diet rich in Calcium and Vitamin D
  • Stop smoking
  • No excessive alcohol
  • Weight bearing exercise

(see the section on Bone health and osteoporosis within this directory)

Continence

  • Do not rush to get to the toilet (allow yourself enough time)
  • Consider the use of incontinence aids / commodes
  • Treat Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) as soon as they appear, see your doctor.

(see the section on HYDRATION within this directory)
(see the section TRUST STAFF AND SERVICES within this directory. Search under C in the A-Z directory for the Trust’s Continence Service)

Environment

Be aware and take extra care in your home or when out and about:

  • Dim lighting or glare
  • Trailing flexes / cables
  • Rugs / mats (these can move and slip)
  • Slippery or uneven surfaces
  • Stairs & steps (design, maintenance, lighting)
  • Clutter, obstacles
  • No handrails or grab bars (bathroom)

(see the sections Making your home safe and Good lighting in the home within this directory)

Fear of falling

  • Use a pendant alarm
  • Hip protectors
  • Consider mobility equipment (eg walking stick, rollator)
  • Learn how to cope with a long lie
  • Learn how to rise from the floor
  • Improve your strength and balance. Balance training reduces fear of falling and improves dynamic balance and isometric strength in institutionalised older people (RCT, Gusi, Carmelo et al 2012)

(see the sections If you have had a fall and TRUST STAFF AND SERVICES within this directory)

Footwear, Foot care

  • Wear appropriate foot wear (not sloppy slippers)
  • Take care of your feet – seeing a podiatrist if you have any issues.

(see the section Conditions and ailments section within this directory for further information on footcare and footwear)
(see the section Trust staff and services within this directory. Search under P in the A-Z directory for the Trust’s Podiatry Service)

  • Wider fitting footwear

Many older people have wide feet and find it difficult to find comfortable shoes that fit well. A list of online and high street retailers who specialise in wider fit footwear has been compiled by the Trust.

  • Medication
    Have a medication review – this can be completed by a pharmacist who will look at any medicines you are taking (both prescribed and over the counter medication).
  • Comply with your medication
  • Report any new side effects as soon as possible

(see the section on Medication within this directory)

Mobility, Aids, Physical Activity

  • Use an appropriate mobility aid if you need it and keep it within reach. Use it sensibly or it could cause you to fall. If you need a mobility aid eg a walking stick, walking frame or rollator etc you will need to see your family doctor first who can then refer you to the Trust’s Physiotherapy service who will assess your physical mobility and make arrangement so that you are given the aid you most need.
    With ageing we will lose some muscle mass and strength. Appropriate exercise can help us retain this and improve our balance and coordination. ‘If you do not use it, you will lose it’

(see the section Lifestyle factors within this directory to learn more about being physically active)
(see the section TRUST STAFF AND SERVICES within this directory. Search under P in the A-Z directory for the Trust’s Physiotherapy Service)

Postural Hypotension (feeling dizzy)

  • Perform all transfers slowly e.g. move slowly from a lying position to a sitting position / from a sitting position to a standing position.
  • Stay hydrated. If symptoms are frequent seek advice from yourGP.

(see the section on HYDRATION within this directory)
 
Report all/any fall, seek help

  • Report any falls (or near misses) that you have had, speak with your family doctor or seek an assessment and treatment even if you have minor injuries. By seeking help early there is a better chance of identifying the cause of your fall and preventing additional falls in the future.

(see the section TRUST STAFF AND SERVICES within this directory)

Sensory Awareness

EYES

  • Eyesight – have regular eye checks
  • Be aware of the risks of wearing bifocals, varifocals
  • Keep your glasses clean

HEARING

  • Hearing aid in use and working. Some forms of deafness can affect your balance.

SENSORY

  • Speak with your family doctor if you notice a lack of sensation in your body.

(see the section TRUST STAFF AND SERVICES within this directory. Search under P in the A-Z directory for the Trust’s Physical Disability – Sensory Disability Service)

Now read about CONDITIONS AND AILMENTS linked to falling.