How To Reduce Risk of Falling in Later Life

6 Simple Steps To Help Prevent Falls

Falls become more common as we get older and the consequences can be serious. But there are a few healthy and safety at home steps you can take to help minimise the risks.

As we get older, many of us become less steady on our feet and, as a result, trips and falls become more common. In fact, around one in three people over the age of 65 will suffer at least one fall each year.  Falls in later life can be serious, leading to broken bones, head injuries and fractured hips. They can also impact on our mental health and wellbeing, causing anxiety and affecting self-confidence. Luckily, there are some simple steps we can all take to help minimise the risk of falls as we enter later life.

Exercise

Improving your balance, strength, flexibility and coordination can help reduce your risk of falling, so consider taking some form of regular gentle exercise. Swimming, tai chi or walking can all work well, and Independent People Homecare advise undertaking a programme of home-based exercises to help you feel steadier on your feet. To find the best exercise for you, ask your doctor to refer you to a physiotherapist who will be able to devise an exercise programme that is tailored to your individual requirements.

Sensible shoes

It may sound obvious, but wearing the right footwear can make a big difference when it comes to ensuring your health and safety. Avoid shoes with slippery soles, high heels, or slippers with no support; instead opt for sturdy, well-fitting shoes with a non-slip sole. As well as helping to prevent falls, sensible shoes can also have the added benefit of helping to reduce joint pain.

Regular eye checks

Poor vision can affect your balance and coordination, and is estimated to be responsible for over 270,000 falls amongst the over 60s each year. With this in mind, it’s important to have regular eye tests so that any problems with your eyesight can be detected and dealt with at an early stage, helping to reduce the risk of accidents and falls.

Home modifications

When it comes to preventing falls, some simple home modifications can make all the difference. What you need will depend on your individual situation, but features such as grab bars for the bath or shower, raised toilet seats, and hand rails for the stairs can all help to make your home a safer place. Smaller measures such as installing good lighting, moving furniture, and using non-slip mats in the bathroom can also be surprisingly effective. A good place to start is with a home hazard assessment where a health professional visits your home in order to identify potential hazards and suggest solutions.

Review medication

Some medications can cause side effects such as dizziness or dehydration which, in turn, can lead to falls. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your GP to have your medication reviewed. This should happen once a year in any case and is especially important if you are taking four or more different medicines a day. If your medication is causing a problem, your doctor may be able to lower the dose or prescribe an alternative.

Care and support

If you are increasingly unsteady on your feet it may be that you require some additional support in order to keep yourself safe and well. When it comes to care, there are a number of options available, from residential care homes through to day care and home help. Generally speaking, people who are cared for in their own home are less likely to fall as they are more familiar with their surroundings. Hiring a live-in carer can help you to safely remain in your own home, and it also means that help will be on hand immediately in the event that you do suffer a fall.

Growing older comes with its hazards, but that doesn’t mean your quality of life has to suffer. By taking some relatively simple measures you can help to keep yourself safe and reduce your risk of falling, enabling you to enjoy your later years to their full potential.