What is this?
There are different ways in which you can help prevent falls for yourself, or the person you care for. Some of these changes are simple checks you can conduct yourself. Some issues will require the advice and input of your GP or medical professional as there may be another reason falls are becoming a problem.
How can I prevent the risk of falls?
There are a number of ways you can reduce your chances of having a fall, including making simple changes in your home and doing special exercises. If you have fallen in the past, making changes to reduce your chances of having a fall can also help you overcome any fear of falling. Small changes can make a big difference when preventing falls.
Top tips for preventing falls in the home include:
- Using non-slip mats and rugs
- Removing clutter, trailing wires and frayed carpet
- Organising your home so that climbing, stretching and bending are kept to a minimum
- Wearing well-fitting shoes that support the ankles
- Taking care of your feet by trimming toenails regularly or seeing a foot care practitioner
Falls can be caused by weakening in muscles and balance over time, so it can be worthwhile researching specialist exercise groups for older people at your local gym - it's a good way to meet new friends while helping take care of your health too.
Referrals can also be made to the Otago strength and balance exercise programme, through the Live Well Hub or your GP. For more information visit the Otago exercise programme page on this website.
Medication review and sight tests
Depending on your circumstances, your GP will generally review your medication on an annual basis. It is important to consider the side effects of any medication you are taking and whether this could be causing you to fall or putting you at risk of falls. The same can be said for sight problems. It is important to regularly get your eyes tested, as poor vision can often be treated easily.
Discuss any falls you have had with your GP and mention if the fall has had any impact on your health and wellbeing. Your GP can carry out simple balance tests to see if you are at increased risk of falling in the future.
The NHS falls prevention pages have more information on reducing the risk of falls, as well as information about exercises and bone health, strength and balance training, medication reviews and sight test tests.
The Steady Steps to Staying Active for Life booklet has hints and tips to keep active and healthy which will help reduce your risk of falling. There is also an accompanying Steady Steps to Staying Active useful contacts leaflet with information on local support for staying healthy and helping to prevent falls.