One in three people over 65 will have a fall. Most falls don’t result in serious injury but there is a risk that a fall could make it harder to move about and manage at home.
A fall may cause a loss of confidence, making it harder to leave the house, resulting in feelings of frustration and helplessness. It might be difficult to get up from the floor.
At the moment we are all spending a lot more time at home than we might like, which is why it is more important than ever to stay as physically active as possible. Improving your strength and balance is the most effective thing you can do in preventing falls. The human body is meant to move and at every age you can make improvements in strength and balance, regardless of how old you are. It’s never too late to start – you are never too old! Start with simple physical activities that you enjoy.
The resources below give you more information about what activities you can do to improve your strength and balance:
Active Gloucestershire’s Fall Proof campaign
Royal Osteoporosis Society: Staying Steady
AgeUK: Exercises for older adults
Tips for avoiding falls at home
Falling is not an inevitable part of getting older; there are lots of simple things you can do to reduce your risk of falling:
- Ensure your home is not cluttered – ensure walkways are clear and avoid trailing cables, loose rugs/mats and obstacles on the floor.
- Make sure your home is well lit and warm enough. Think about a night light – especially if you get up in the night to use the toilet and avoid trailing nightwear.
- Organise your home so that climbing, stretching and bending are kept to a minimum
- Wear supportive, flat, non-slip footwear which covers your whole foot and fastens, both indoors and out – avoid mules, slippery socks and sloppy slippers
- Take good care of your feet and trim or file your toenails regularly
- Make sure you drink enough fluids (at least 6-8 mugs or glasses per day). If you are finding it difficult to get to the toilet in time, reduce the amount of drinks containing caffeine and fizzy drinks as they irritate the bladder.
- Eat a balanced diet with regular meals.
- Avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time; stand up every hour.
- If you feel a bit woozy when you sit up or stand up, take your time and wait until you feel steady before you move off.
The booklets below give you important advice and information if you have had a slip, trip or fall or if you are concerned about falling.
AgeUK’s Top Tips for Staying Steady
Facing up to Falls is a video which aims to provide families and older people with practical steps to avoid falls by highlighting key issues that can lead to a fall: Facing Up to Falls