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Preventing falls

Find out how to reduce your risk of falling and be safer at home.
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Don’t just accept it

Falls and fractures are a serious and common health problem, especially for older people.

But falling over and becoming more unsteady are not a normal part of getting older. You don’t have to just accept it – many falls can be prevented.

Impact of falling

Falling over can:

  • seriously impact your health, confidence and wellbeing

  • result in being admitted to hospital.

  • cause bone fractures, cuts, bruising and head and facial injuries.

Also fear of falling over can stop you going out and socialising. This means you move about less and become weaker and less mobile.

But with the right assessment and treatment many falls, and the fear of falling,  can be managed and prevented.

Tips to reduce your risk of falling

Here are some steps you can take to help reduce the risk of falling over and keep safe in the community.

  • If you feel dizzy, are experiencing blackouts or find you are very stiff then talk to your GP.

  • Talk to your GP if you find you are having any difficulty with your bladder and bowels, especially if you are rushing to the toilet.

  • Book an eye test.

  • Check your home for clutter or trip hazards.

  • Check that your lighting is bright enough and that there are no loose rugs or carpets.

    • Do not take unnecessary risks like standing on stepladders to reach high objects or change lightbulbs.

    • Keep active and keep moving. For example, consider getting off the bus a stop early to increase your walking distance.

    • Use any equipment offered to you to reduce your risk of falls.

    • Book an appointment with a podiatrist to have your feet reviewed.

    • Ask your GP or local pharmacist to review your medications. Often the side effects from tablets can make you more likely to fall.

    • Limit how much alcohol you drink and speak to your GP if you need support with this.

    • Smoking makes your bones more brittle. If you smoke, consider getting help to quit.

    • Make sure you wear safe and appropriate footwear with a good sole. Trainers are perfect. Slippers should be closed at the toe and the heel.

    • Call the falls helpline on 020 8613 9206 for expert advice and if you are worried.

Prepare for falls at home

Consider how you will call for help if you do fall

  • Get a pendant alarm, which you can use in an emergency.

  • Carry a mobile phone.

  • Alert neighbours that you have fallen by banging on the wall, floor or radiator with a heavy object.

  • Make an arrangement with your neighbours to come and check on you if they hear banging.

Be prepared

  • Consider an easily accessible ‘falls box’, containing the things you might need in case you were on the floor for some time.

  • This could contain: pillows and blankets to keep you warm, a mobile phone and incontinence pads if you use them.

If you fall

  • Don’t try to get up immediately.

  • Take your time to recover from the shock and check if you have any injuries or pain.

  • If you have wet yourself, remove wet clothing and roll away from the damp.

  • Use your falls box or blankets to get comfortable and prevent pressure sores.

  • Get help as soon as possible.

Further advice

Read our leaflet about staying active and preventing falls

Contact

Community Falls Service

Telephone: 020 8613 9206
Opening hours:

The line is open Monday to Friday, 9am–4pm