Anyone can have a fall, but older people may be more vulnerable and likely to fall, especially if they have a long-term health condition.

Why might I fall?

The main reasons why an older person may fall are:

  • Accidentally falling or slipping, such as;
    • on wet or recently polished floors
    • in dimly lit areas
    • on rugs or carpets that are not properly secured
    • overreaching for storage areas such as cupboards
    • when using the stairs
    • when wearing poorly fitting slippers or shoes.
  • Some long-term health conditions, such as heart disease, dementia and low blood pressure (hypotension) which can cause dizziness and a brief loss of consciousness
  • Impairments, such as poor vision, muscle weakness or loss of muscle mass due to inactivity
  • Conditions that can affect balance, such as labyrinthitis (an infection in the inner ear) or incorrectly prescribed varifocal glasses

What can I do to prevent falls?

There are many ways to help prevent falls in the home including:

  • Using non-slip mats and rugs
  • Ensuring all rooms, passages and staircases are well lit and free of clutter
  • Mopping up spillages, not walking on wet floors or slippery surfaces outdoors
  • Removing clutter and rearranging cupboards or rooms to provide a safer environment
  • Getting help lifting or moving items that are heavy or difficult to lift safely

Click here for a Get Up and Go Guide to Staying Steady with lots of tips to keep you safe and well at home.

Click here to request a Safe and Well visit by Surrey Fire & Rescue.

Click here for Age UK advice on how to make tasks easier around the home.

Click here for Age UK advice on how to make your home ‘falls-free’

Click here to download our Preventing Falls flyer. 

Falls Assessment

If you have experienced three of the five issues below, we would recommend that you get further advice and support around preventing future falls from your GP practice.

  • Have fallen in the last year
  • Difficulty getting out of a chair
  • Balance or walking problems
  • Taking 4 or more medicines
  • Had a stroke or Parkinson’s disease

Exercise Programmes

Doing regular strength and balance exercises such as walking, dancing or taking part in exercise classes at community centres and gyms can help to improve your overall health and reduce your risk of having a fall. Many exercises can also be carried out at home.

Exercise programmes (including Tai Chi) and home safety interventions have been proven to reduce people's rate of falls and risk of falling (Gillespie et al, 2012).

This short video shows six exercises you can do in your own home to strengthen muscles and improve balance. You don’t need any special equipment to try them out.

 

Click here to find exercise sessions near you.

Click here for information on Surrey Heath’s FREE walking for health scheme.

Click here for tops tips on physical activity for falls prevention. 

Sensors and Equipment

Simple equipment or small changes to your home could help you to live more independently and help avoid falls – such as grab rails. Click here for information from Surrey County Council on how to access equipment to help you stay safe.

Footwear and Care

Research has shown that older people are more likely to fall in the home if they are wearing badly fitting footwear. A significant number of older people fall every year because of wearing ill-fitting slippers or by continuing to use slippers that have become unsafe through wear and tear (Age UK Waltham Forest).

By acquiring new, properly fitted slippers, you can eliminate one of the big risk factors known to cause people to fall

Click here to find out more about how to look after your feet properly (e.g. checking for cracked skin, blisters, signs of infection etc.).

Further Information

Click here for the NHS Choices Falls Prevention website 

Click here for the Future Learn Aging Well Falls course 

Click here for the Active Surrey website with information on aging well