Falls and Falls Prevention 

Did you know 1 in 3 over 65 year olds have a fall every year?  That’s a scary statistic.  The risk of falling also increases as we get older.  The fear of falling has many effects.  It stops many people doing beneficial activities such as exercising, walking, shopping, or taking part in social activities. 

Many things can cause a fall. Our eyesight, hearing, and reflexes tend to be less sharp as we age.  Heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure and COPD can also have in impact on our balance.   

How can we help to prevent falls? 

  • Exercise regularly.  This will help to keep your muscles conditioned and maintain balance. 
  • Have your eyes and hearing tested.  Even small changes in sight and hearing may cause you to fall.  
  • Find out about the side effects of any medicine you take.  If a drug makes you sleepy or dizzy, tell your GP. 
  • Get enough sleep.  You are more likely to fall if you are tired.   
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.  Even a small amount of alcohol can affect your balance and reflexes.  
  • Stand up slowly.  Getting up too quickly can cause your blood pressure to drop.  That can make you feel wobbly.  
  • If you need one, use an assistive device if you need help feeling steady when you walk.  Appropriate use of sticks and walkers can prevent falls.  
  • Be very careful when walking on wet or icy surfaces.   
  • Fall proof your home.  Add additional railing or stable objects to help you stand up.
  • Wear non-skid, rubber-soled, low-heeled shoes, or lace-up shoes with non-skid soles that fully support your feet.  Make sure they are the right size! 
  • Always tell your doctor if you have fallen since your last check up, even if you aren't hurt when you fall.  They can then keep a record. 

 Falls are very scary.  So what should I do if I have a fall? 

  • Stay as calm as possible. 
  • Take some deep breaths. 
  • Don’t get up too quickly, decide if you are hurt first. 
  • If you think you can get up safely without help, roll over onto your side. Rest again while your body and blood pressure adjust. Slowly get up on your hands and knees, and crawl to a sturdy chair. 
  • Put your hands on the chair seat and slide one foot forward so that it is flat on the floor. Keep the other leg bent so the knee is on the floor. From this kneeling position, slowly rise and turn your body to sit in the chair. 
  • If you are hurt call for help or call emergency services. 
  • Get in a habit of carrying your mobile phone with you. 

Ryan Hodgkinson