Take small steps to stay on your feet

Five easy tips to prevent falls and fractures

1 – Get checked out top to toe

If you can see what’s around you and where you’re going, it’s easier to move around safely:

  • Get your eyes tested every year – it’s free on the NHS. If you already have glasses, get them checked for fit. And don’t wait if your vision changes – see your optician as soon as possible.
  • If you notice a change in your hearing talk to your GP. Many high street pharmacies also offer free hearing tests.
  • Wear shoes and slippers that are comfortable and fit properly, and always wear them indoors. Sore feet, long toenails and poor circulation can make you less steady. Go to your GP or local podiatrist to get your feet checked out.
  • If you take prescription medications, your GP and local pharmacist should review them regularly.
    Check if you can drink alcohol while taking your medication.
    If any of your prescriptions make you feel faint or drowsy, speak to your GP. Over the counter medications can have an effect, so tell the pharmacist what other medication you are taking.

2 – Calcium keeps bones strong

As you get older your bones become thinner. It’s important to keep your bones strong as there will be less chance of them breaking if you do fall. You can help by eating a well-balanced diet full of calcium and eating foods like:

  • dairy products (low fat is just as good)
  • green leafy vegetables like broccoli and cabbage
  • soya beans and tofu
  • nuts
  • bread
  • fish where you eat the bones like sardines.

3 – Get enough vitamin D

You need vitamin D to keep bones strong. You should get most of the vitamin D you need from natural sunlight. Try to spend some time in the sun each day during the summer (be careful not to get sunburn). If it’s difficult to get outdoors, talk to your GP or pharmacist about taking a supplement.

4 – Stay active

Even if you haven’t exercised for years, staying active has many benefits. It helps strengthen muscles and bones and improves balance which reduces the risk of falling. Types of exercise you can do include:

  • walking
  • gardening
  • dancing
  • yoga
  • tai chi.

Contact your local leisure centre about groups and classes in your area or online.

5 – Clear your way at home

It’s important to check your home for anything you might trip over or bump in to, like rugs, loose carpets, low level furniture or items lying on the floor. Low lighting can also make it difficult to see where you’re going. Ask a friend, relative or neighbour to help you spot anything that may be a risk.

If you are not able to carry out small jobs in your home, you can contact a local care and repair service. They can even help you to do things like changing light bulbs and tacking down carpets.

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