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An information leaflet for people who are at risk of falling and their carers.
As we get older we are more likely to experience a fall. A third of people over the age of sixty-five fall every year. Often, when we fall, we do not give it much thought, other than perhaps a moment’s embarrassment. However, falls can result in serious injury and reduced mobility or even death. As you get older it might be worth taking a few moments to consider whether there is anything you could do to reduce your risk of falling. If you do fall again you might start to lose confidence or even break a bone.
This leaflet will help to guide you through a simple checklist of practical suggestions that you can carry out to reduce your risk of falling.
It is important that if you are referred to a falls prevention programme you follow the advice and complete the programme. It will be based on evidence and will have been developed for you as an individual.
Further information to help and advice is available at the end of this leaflet.
Falling can be the result of many things, such as:
Many people feel shaken after having a fall that they reduce their activity. They think this will keep them safe. This can make matters worse. If you have a fall it is even more important to stay active:
A balanced nutritious diet can help you to continue to be healthy and strong which will help reduce your risk of a fall.
Your vision is important to your sense of balance and movement. Sight loss can occur very gradually so you may not always be aware of changes in your vision. Here are some useful things to be aware of:
There are a number of medical conditions (for example, Parkinson’s, Dementia, Stroke), which may cause you to fall. If you feel that your falls may be linked to these, please seek advice from your GP practice.
Your blood pressure can sometimes drop when you stand, and your body may take a while to adjust. You may get dizzy when standing up from a chair or your bed. If this occurs you may need to have a lying and standing blood pressure check at your GP practice.
Sometimes people get arthritis in their neck, which can cause dizziness.
Osteoporosis means that you have got thin bones. This means a minor bump or fall may result in a broken bone.
Some medications can make you feel unsteady on your feet.
If you are taking more than four types of medication in a day you should have your medication reviewed once a year by your GP.
During this review you should have a chance to discuss any problems you are having with your medicines. Don’t forget to mention any over the counter medications you are taking.
Lots of people fall because of rushing to the toilet.
Try to have your last drink at least an hour before you go to bed, to reduce your risk of having to get up in the night. However, do not reduce the amount of fluid you take as this could lead to you becoming dehydrated.
Do not be embarrassed, if you are experiencing problems with continence; speak to your GP practice.
Wearing the correct clothing and footwear and looking after your feet, enables you to move around more comfortably and safely.
Ensure that your mobility aids (for example, walking sticks) and your equipment at home (for example, grab rails) are fitted correctly. This can help to keep you steady on your feet.
Most of the suggestions are common sense but it is worth considering them and taking action to correct any hazards, as soon as possible.
There are a number of services listed in the ‘Sources of Help’ section that can help you to make the suggested adjustments to your home and surrounding area.
Don't panic! You will probably feel a little shocked and shaken but try to keep calm.
Assess the situation.
If you are hurt or feel unable to get up follow the Rest and Wait plan.
If you are hurt and unable to get up wait for help and follow these guidelines.
Before you attempt to get up, make sure that you are not hurt. If you feel that you are able to get up, the following method is one safe way to get up from a fall, but there are others.
After a fall, it is always advisable to speak to your GP Practice.
For further information and advice visit the Age UK website and type in ‘Staying Steady’ in the search box
Telephone: 0800 169 6565
Supporting people with Osteoporosis and maximising prevention of falls and fractures www.theros.org.uk
Telephone: 0808 8000035
For footwear / footcare advice
Telephone: 01709 423200
Telephone: 01709 822 330
To refer to occupational therapy for equipment concerns and housing.
Telephone: 01709 822330
Telephone 01709 371897
Refer through Assessment Direct
For information and advice
Telephone: 01709 835214
Age UK Rotherham website
Provides a range of safe, reliable, flexible, accessible transport services for people who have mobility difficulties and for community groups.
Telephone: 01709 517100
To discuss who your local optician is, contact the Rotherham Health Advice Centre on Telephone: 01709 423030
For assistance with your vision
Telephone: 01709 336415
Assessment direct for advice and referral
Telephone: 01709 822330
Rotherham Council - Single point of access website
Free service to the people of Rotherham to help stop smoking, reduce alcohol consumption, get more active, lose weight and improve overall health. Service commissioned by RMBC and provided by Parkwood healthcare and its partner organisations.
Telephone: 01709 718720.
The Independent Living Unit Centre provides impartial advice about equipment and practical aspects of daily living for disabled people, carers and professionals.
Telephone: 01302 592400
How to reduce your risk of falling - patient information leaflet
Produced in November 2018.
Revised: January 2022. Revision due: January 2024. Version: 2.0
©The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust 2022. All rights reserved