6 Commonly Asked Questions About Falls In Older Adults

Posted on: 29/10/2021

In the UK, older adults that are over 65 have the highest risk of falling over. At least once a year, around one third of people aged 65 and over, and around half of people aged 80 and over, experience falls.

This can be a scary experience because of the physical and mental effects that a fall can have. So below, we’ve answered six common questions that are asked about falls, and even included links to some of the other articles we have written, to give you as much advice and support as possible.

  1. What are the most common causes of falls?

Two of the most common reasons an older person may fall over are:

  • Problems with poor balance, caused by weak muscles, problems with the feet or other health conditions.
  • Experiencing dizziness or light-headedness, often caused by dehydration or certain medications.

For a full list, have a read of our blog on the top 9 causes of falls in the elderly and how to manage them.

  1. Why are older adults more at risk of falling?

As we age, we often become more at risk of falls due to the effect the natural ageing process has on our body.

Vision and hearing loss, decreased muscle mass and certain health conditions (such as dementia, incontinence and low blood pressure) can all increase the risk of falling.

In addition, taking multiple medications can also increase the risk, which is far more common in older adults.

  1. If I fall once, am I more likely to fall again?

Unfortunately, the risk of falling again increases after experiencing previous falls. This is normally due to a few reasons:

  • There is an underlying cause or condition that triggered the first fall, which needs to be addressed to avoid future falls.
  • There are external factors, such as trip hazards within the home, that need to be addressed.
  • A fear of falling is developed, which can lead to reduced mobility in order to try and avoid falling again. This in turn increases the risk of falling, due to decreased muscle mass and loss of strength from restricted movement.
  1. How do I overcome a fear of falling?

If you have experienced a fall in the past and this has led to a fear of falling, it’s best to first look at what may have caused the fall so that it can be avoided in the future. Knowing this has been addressed will be a big step towards helping to build up confidence again.

Then, you can work on overcoming the fear with the help of friends and family, by:

  • Talking about it to challenge any negative thoughts.
  • Taking short and gentle walks in familiar places to rebuild confidence.
  • Working to improve strength and balance.
  • Introducing relaxation to reduce feelings of anxiety.
  • Considering a fall detector or personal alarm for peace of mind.

To further understand the cause of a fear of falling and ways to overcome it, click here to read our article.

  1. How can I reduce the risk of falling?

Understanding the risk factors associated with falls and addressing the common causes of falls can really help to reduce the risk.

In addition, you can also:

  • Stay physically and mentally active
  • Get enough sleep
  • Remove slip and trip hazards from within the home
  • Work on maintaining bone health, such as by limiting alcohol intake, quitting smoking and getting enough calcium and vitamin D
  1. What should I do if I fall over?

Even after putting measures in place to reduce the risk of falls, it’s not always possible to completely prevent falling over.

For help and advice on how to safely get up after a fall and get help, click here to read our article on what to do after a fall and how to call for help.