A guide to falls prevention

Posted on: 14/08/2023

Many factors can contribute to the likelihood of having a fall, such as:

  • Diabetes, heart disease, or problems with your thyroid, nerves and feet, can all affect your balance.
  • If you have problems with your eyesight, hearing or reflexes, these could also contribute to the likelihood of a fall.
  • However, the biggest risk of falling is getting older.

Thirty percent of people over the age of 65 will fall at least once a year. For those aged 80 and over, it is 50%. For older people, a broken bone or fracture could be the start of more serious problems reducing overall wellbeing and independence.

What steps can I take to prevent falls?

  1. Stay physically active

Exercises designed to improve muscle strength can reduce your risk of a fall by improving your posture, coordination and balance.

  1. Eat well

Getting enough energy is important in keeping up strength and preventing falls.

  1. Keep hydrated

As well as eating well, you should make sure you’re drinking plenty. If you don’t drink enough it’s likely that you’ll start to feel light-headed which will increase your risk of a fall. Try to drink about six to eight glasses of fluid a day.

  1. Have your eyes and hearing tested

Even small changes in sight and hearing may cause you to fall. When you get new glasses or contact lenses, take time to get used to them. Always wear your glasses or contacts when you need them. If you have a hearing aid, be sure it fits well and ensure you wear it.

  1. Manage your medicines

Certain medications can make you feel faint or dizzy and affect your balance. Let your doctor know if you experience side effects like these after taking any medication – they may need to check the dose or look at alternatives.

  1. Stand up slowly

Getting up too quickly can cause your blood pressure to drop. That can make you feel wobbly. Get your blood pressure checked when lying and standing.

  1. Get enough sleep

If you are tired, you are more likely to fall.

  1. Limit the alcohol you drink

Even a small amount of alcohol can affect your balance and reflexes. Studies show that the rate of hip fractures in older adults increases with alcohol use.

  1. Use assistive devices

Appropriate use of canes and walkers can prevent falls. If your doctor tells you to use a cane or walker, make sure it is the right size for you and the wheels roll smoothly.

  1. Be very careful when walking on wet or icy surfaces

Try to have sand or salt spread on icy areas by your front or back door.

  1. Wear non-skid, rubber-soled, low-heeled shoes, or lace-up shoes with non-skid soles that fully support your feet

It is important that the soles are not too thin or too thick. Don't walk on stairs or floors in socks or in shoes and slippers with smooth soles.

  1. Keep your bones strong to prevent falls

Keep your bones healthy and strong by eating calcium-rich foods, getting enough vitamin D from sunlight and doing some weight-bearing exercises.

If you have weaker bones, they're more likely to break if you fall. So stronger bones could make any injury you have much less serious.

How do I make my home fall-proof?

Many slips, trips and falls happen in or around the home. Keeping an eye out for potential hazards can make your home a safer place. Making some simple changes around your home can make a real difference. Here are top tips:

  1. Remove potential hazards around your house:
  • Rugs and mats at the top or bottom of the stairs are a trip hazard and can easily lead to a fall, so it's a good idea to move them out of the way
  • Remove trip hazards like trailing wires, clutter and rugs
  • Try and avoid glass furniture as it can be harder to see and may cause a stumble
  • Immediately clean spilled liquids, grease or food.
  • Use nonslip mats in your bathtub or shower. Use a bath seat, which allows you to sit while showering
  1. Light up your room
  • Install a night light near the bed to make sure if you wake up in the night you can see where you're going
  • Store torches in easy-to-find places in case of power cuts

How can Progress Lifeline help if you are worried about a fall?

If you’ve had a fall or you feel your balance isn’t as good as it was, it’s natural to feel worried about falling. This can become a problem if it’s causing you to avoid certain activities, such as exercise, or leaving your home.

At Progress Lifeline, we provide products and services designed to offer peace of mind and reassurance.

Our personal lifeline alarm allows you to call for help if, for example, you’re unwell or have a fall and can’t reach a telephone. Pressing a button on a pendant or wristband you wear all the time will alert our 24/7 alarm response centre. Our team will then send out a member of our emergency home response team to help get you back up.

For further information about how we can assist if you are worried about falling, click here. Alternatively, you can also speak to a member of our team on 03333 204 999.