Falls do not have to be a normal part of getting older. Despite what other people may think, falls are preventable and do not just happen. Often there are underlying causes or risk factors that are linked to having a fall. Read below and see if you or someone you know may be at risk of a slip, trip or fall.
You are at risk of a fall if you:
- Have had a fall in the last year
If you have fallen before then you are more likely to fall again.
- Do less than 30 minutes of physical activity a day
- Find it hard to get up from a chair
Many falls are a result of muscles and bones becoming weaker.
- Feel unsteady on your feet
- Have trouble walking on uneven surfaces
- Use a walking frame or walking stick to steady yourself
Feeling unsteady on your feet or using a walking stick or walker may mean your balance has reduced. This can put you at higher risk of having a fall.
- Take five or more medicines
- Take medicines to help you sleep better
- Have not had your medicines checked by your GP or Pharmacist in the last year.
Medicines have side effects such as making you feel dizzy, drowsy or confused. This can put you at a higher risk of having a fall.
- Drink alcohol while taking medications.
- Drink more than two standard drinks on any day.
Alcohol affects your mental alertness and balance. The effects of alcohol can increase when mixed with medication and this increases your risk of having a fall.
- Have a health condition such as Diabetes or Arthritis
- Feel dizzy, pain, drowsy or have trouble thinking clearly
Many health conditions increase your risk of a fall. Without correct management, you make feel unwell or experience less movement or changes to your mental well-being.
- Have a diet low in calcium.
- Spend a lot of time inside and do not enjoy enough sunshine.
- Do not drink enough water to keep your body hydrated.
Not getting enough calcium and vitamin D can make your bones weak and fragile. Not drink drinking enough water to fuel your body can increase your risk of a fall as you may feel light headed and have to rush to the toilet.
- Trip on loose mats or rugs.
- Have cluttered paths and narrow walkways to move in and around your home.
- Store hoses and garden tools on the ground.
Hazards inside and outside your home can be a risk for falls. These risks increase when combined with other risk factors such as poor eyesight, unsafe shoes and medications
- Have not had your eyes tested and your glasses checked by your Optometrist in the last year.
- Have poor lighting in and around your home
As you get older your eyes go through changes. You may not be able to see things as clearly, you become more sensitive to light and you may not be able to judge where an object is located. This puts you at a higher risk of having a fall.
- Wear slippers and thongs
- Wear shoes that have a heel higher than 2 centimetres
Shoes that do not fit properly can cause discomfort, injury and foot problems. It is important to visit your podiatrist regularly to talk about any foot problems and to discuss what shoes are best for you.
Visit the how can I prevent falls? page to find out how you can move your body, improve your health and remove hazards to prevent falls.