How to reduce the risk of falling


Did you know?

  • 30% of older people over 60 fall each year
  • This rises to 50% of people over 80.
  • Falls can lead to fractures, head injuries and other injuries that can lead to hospital admission or increase the risk of early death.
  • Falls are the commonest cause of death from injury in the over 65’s
  • A person who has suffered a fall can experience pain and distress and loss of independence and self confidence.
  • Treating falls costs the NHS more than £2 billion each year

There are some simple steps to take that can help to reduce this risk and help to maintain independence, health and well-being.

  • Check that your shoes and slippers fit properly and are not trodden down at the back. Well fitting shoes offer far more support.
  • Wear slippers or shoes, not socks or tights only on hard flooring like vinyl, wood or tiles.
  • Have a long handled shoe horn if bending to put shoes on is difficult.
  • Try shoes that fasten with Velcro if laces are hard to do up.
  • Make sure you keep the floor and doorways clear of clutter and slip and trip hazards, particularly rugs and cables.
  • Make sure spills are wiped up from flooring and floors are dry before walking on them.
  • Use a non slip mat in the bath or shower and have grab rails fitted.
  • Get someone to check for worn flooring in areas of heavy tread and that door bars between rooms are securely fixed.
  • Ask your local council to send an Occupational Therapist to review your home to see if you would benefit from extra grab rails or other aids such as a raised toilet seat.
  • Consider having a banister rail fitted on both sides of the stairs
  • If you have a stick or a frame or a walker remember to use it and keep it by you so it there when you need it.
  • Coloured strips on the edges of stairs and steps may help you to see them more easily.
  • Make sure the lighting is good when you are moving around.
  • Make sure that you eat and drink well. Not drinking enough could cause you to become de-hydrated which can increase the risk of falling as can not eating well. (Food gives us energy, dehydration can cause confusion)
  • Make sure night wear and dressing gowns and coats are not too long, particularly when going up and down stairs
  • Get up slowly if you suffer from low blood pressure as it may make you feel dizzy
  • If you suffer pain from sore and stiff joints, it is important to take your pain relief medication as prescribed so it works more efficiently.
  • If you feel the pain relief if not working, make an appointment to see your GP to get your medication reviewed. In fact, keep medication under review, especially if you take several different types of medication.
  • Don’t try to do things that are hard to manage and very risky. Keep yourself safe and ask for help. (When my own mum was in her 80’s, I once found her standing on the TV unit to reach her curtains to take them down to wash!)



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