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What can cause a fall?

Risk factors and injuries associated with falls can be classified as personal (also known as intrinsic) risk factors and environmental (also known as extrinsic) risk factors. Whilst a fall can be caused by a single risk factor, falls are more likely to be caused by multiple risk factors.

Risk factors may include:

A previous fall Sore feet and unsafe shoes
Health problems Loss of balance
Medications Changes in walking
Poor diet Not being active
Poor or loss of eyesight Hazards around the home


Venn diagram illustrating what factors can cause a fall

For a fall to occur, a person must be performing an activity. For example, moving from the bed to the bathroom in the evening. The fall may occur because the older person has poor eyesight (intrinsic), they tripped on a carpet in the bedroom (extrinsic) and they were moving in a hurry to move from their bedroom to the toilet (activity).

How to tell if someone is at risk of falling:

Due to the number of risk factors that can contribute to an individual’s falls risk, falls risk screening tools are commonly used to guide the identification of an older person’s risk of having a fall. Click here for more information about screening tools.


Helpful links:

Stay On Your Feet® is provided by Injury Matters and funded by the Western Australian Department of Health.

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Government of Western Australia Department of Health Injury Matters
Injury Matters acknowledge the Whadjuk Noongar people as the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work, and recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continuing connection to land, waters and community across Western Australia.