When an older or frail person has a bad fall it can mark the beginning of a general decline in their health; if bones are broken the fall can lead to months in hospital. Not all falls are serious, but if you find yourself falling regularly, it’s important to tell someone so that everything possible can be done to reduce the risk of you falling again, perhaps more seriously.
Reducing the risk of falling
Fortunately, falling is not an inevitable part of old age and there are preventative steps you can take. Age UK outlines eight steps for minimising the likelihood of falling in its free publication Staying Steady:
Step 1: exercise regularly to improve balance and strengthen legs and upper body.
Step 2: have regular eye and hearing tests.
Step 3: look after your feet and wear shoes that fit well (beware of loose slippers).
Step 4: some medications can cause dizziness - if this is the case, tell your GP.
Step 5: get outside as much as possible - Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones.
Step 6: dump home-hazards like rugs and clutter; install better lighting and handrails.
Step 7: increase the amount of calcium in your diet.
Step 8: if you have fallen or are frightened of falling, talk to your doctor.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents offers advice in two films: Facing up to falls and How to get up safely after a fall.
Telecare and community alarms can reduce your risk of falling, as can making adaptations to your home.
Care and Repair helps older home-owners and private tenants, adapt and maintain their homes to reduce their risk of falling, e.g. handrails, ramps.
If you are falling regularly, it’s a good idea to ask for advice about how your care and support needs might best be met.
Contact your local council to arrange a needs assessment. If the situation is urgent, tell them.