How can I reduce the risk of a fall?
|Falls are NOT an inevitable part of getting older. You should always tell your GP or another health professional if you have a fall, as it may be a sign of a new or worsening health condition.
Drinking plenty of fluids helps to maintain a steady blood pressure and boost the health of your bladder.
There are several ways to keep your bladder healthy:
- drink six to eight glasses of fluid daily unless my doctor advises otherwise
- cut down on caffeinated, carbonated, acidic and alcoholic drinks
- contact your doctor to talk about fluid intake and incontinence
Check your home is falls safe
Take these simple actions to reduce falls in your home:
- check home and remove slip and trip hazards like rugs and wires
- use non-slip mats in the bathroom
- make sure all rooms and staircases are well-lit
- put a light by the bed in case you need to get up at night
- if you use a Zimmer frame or walking aid, get a professional to review if this is the best walking aid for you
- check walking aids are in good condition
More home safety support
Some people are eligible for adaptations in their home to help prevent a fall. Contact us on 01983 821000 for more information and advice.
Arrange a Safe and Well visit from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue by calling: 023 8064 4000. Safe and Well is a free home fire safety visit tailored to your needs.
Or for more support at home with health and safety, call the Blue Lamp Trust on 0300 777 0157.
Take care of your feet
Keeping your feet and footwear in good condition can help you to stay steady.
- take care of feet, including trimming toenails regularly
- wear well-fitting shoes and slippers that are in good condition and support my ankle
- wee a GP or chiropodist about any foot problems
Make sure you can see properly
Optimising your eyesight helps you to adjust to your environment and react to hazards to reduce the risk of falling.
If I notice any changes in your vision, make an appointment with an optician to discuss concerns. Have a standard eye test every two years at your optician or at home if you have a disability or illness. Eye tests are free if you are over 60, and some opticians do home visits if you cannot get out.
If you wear glasses, follow the four C’s:
- make sure your glasses are correct
- make sure your glasses are current
- make sure your glasses are clean
- make sure your glasses are comfortable to make the most out of your vision
Have your hearing tested
Good hearing helps you to adjust to your environment and react to hazards to reduce the risk of falling.
Have a hearing check with the NHS at your GP practice, local pharmacy, or service provider.
Wightsense are a free provider who support individuals with sight or hearing loss - call 01983 240222
Eat balanced and varied meals
Try to have three balanced and varied meals a day, consisting of a source of carbohydrate, protein and vegetable or fruit. Alongside this, incorporate a serving of dairy / dairy alternative three times a day which will provide calcium that is needed for strong bones. Having a balanced, varied and regular intake of food is important to help achieve the nutrition a body needs to stay healthy.
Taking part in physical activity and a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D will encourage strong bones and help to prevent brittle bone disease (Osteoporosis). Adequate diet is important to prevent other nutrients being leached from bones and to ensure good muscle strength, circulation, heart rate and blood pressure.
Healthy eating help and advice:
- Nutrition.org.uk offer information about having an enjoyable and varied diet
- the Isle of Wight Foodbank can support you if you are struggling in the cost-of-living crisis on: 01983 292040.
- visit our Cost of Living webpages
- Islefindit advice directory can provide contact information for help with the cost of living crisis
- The Royal Osteoporosis Society can provide useful information and advice about a healthy diet and strong bones and the helpline can provide information on 0808 800 0035
Take medication correctly
Some medicines and taking many medications can make you more likely to fall.
- follow instructions for taking and organising medication
- have a medication review every year
- speak to your GP Practice team or pharmacist to make an appointment
There are many possible causes of dizziness, including low blood pressure and inner ear problems.
Speak to you GP Practice team to find out why you feel dizzy.
If you start to get dizzy:
- change your position slowly and move arms and legs to boost blood circulation
- take extra care when getting out of bed and standing up from a chair
- make sure you are regularly eating 3 meals a day
- drink plenty of fluids during the day (unless advised otherwise)
- arrange a hearing test
Drink less alcohol
Drinking alcohol frequently significantly increases risk of a fall.
Try to cut back on drinking alcohol regularly.
If you are concerned, or someone else has expressed concern that you are drinking too much alcohol, contact Inclusion Recovery Isle of Wight at 01983 526654.
If you require out of hours, please contact: 0300 330 2001
Make an action plan to live well and prevent falls
Use this checklist to make an action plan:
- exercise regularly
- take your medicine on time and correctly
- keep well hydrated
- reduce alcohol intake
- have your eyesight tested regularly
- consider changing your footwear
- check your home falls safe
- if getting dizzy frequently, contact your GP
- is your clothing appropriate to prevent a fall
- maintain a healthy diet
Feeling steady and want to stay that way?
Do strength and balance activities
- Get Active Isle of Wight is a free directory for being active and finding what works for you. That could be a short walk in the park, a fitness class in my living room or seated physical activity whilst drinking a cuppa. Get Active can help you find loads of great activities to choose from, however fit (or unfit) you think you feel.
- Islefindit is a free directory to help access the information you need, all in one place including local sports clubs and physical activity classes with links to other relevant sites pricings and portals.
Adults aged 65 and over should:
- Aim to be physically active every day, even if it's just light activity do activities that improve strength, balance and flexibility on at least 2 days a week.
- Do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity if you are already active, or a combination of both.
- Reduce time spent sitting or lying down and break up long periods of not moving with some activity.
- If you've fallen or are worried about falling, doing physical activity to improve my strength, balance and flexibility will help make you stronger and feel more confident on my feet.
- More information from the NHS
More help and general advice
- Get Up and Go - A Guide to Staying Steady - The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
- How to reduce your risk of falling video - Age UK
- A Practical Guide to Healthy Ageing - Age UK
- Getting up after a fall - The Chartered Society of
- Strength and balance exercises - The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
- Exercise and physical activity for osteoporosis and bone health - The Royal Osteoporosis Society
- Video library of strength and balance exercises – Later Life Training
- Active at Home booklet - Public Health England
- Getting active at home for older adults - Energise Me