Many people fall every year and this can happen more often as we get older. People often describe this as having a stumble or tripping but it can still be a bit of a shock. The good news is that falling isn’t an inevitable part of getting older and there’s lots you can do to stay strong and steady on your feet.
Avoiding falls –how to stay strong and steady
- Keeping well can reduce your risk of falls, get your eyesight and hearing checked regularly.
- If you have any unexplained falls with blackouts or dizziness get your doctor to check you over.
- If you are taking four or more different medicines every day ask your pharmacist to review them.
- Make sure your shoes are well fitting and take good care of your feet.
- Check out your home and make sure you’ve got a clear space to walk around, lift up any clutter and make sure each room is well lit.
- Eat well, and try to have a healthy diet that includes calcium rich foods that are good for your bones.
- Do some exercise daily to keep your muscles strong and your balance steady. You’re never too old to exercise. Aim to do a mixture of activities that keep you moving and exercises that strengthen your muscles. Remember every little bit of exercise counts, you could walk around you house or garden or march your feet when you’re sitting in your chair. Here are six simple exercises that you can try at home.
Where to get falls support
If you are worried about falling, or know somebody who has fallen but not spoke to a health professional about it, help is available.
When to look for more help
- Have you had more than one fall in the past 12 months?
- Have you had any difficulty carrying out your usual activities since you fell?
- Do you feel unsteady on your feet or have problems balancing?
- Did you have a blackout or find yourself on the floor and don’t know why?
If you, or somebody you know, answered yes to any of these questions then it’s time to get checked over. Call Social Care Direct on 0131 200 2338 and ask for a falls assessment, or you can ask a healthcare professional you already see to refer you for a falls assessment.
What to do if you fall
If you have had a blackout or aren’t sure what happened when you fell you should contact your GP.
Visit NHS Inform to read more about what to do if you fall.
It’s good to have a plan of what to do if you were ever to fall. Some people call this a ‘falls plan’ or an ‘up and about plan’. You can find out more on NHS Inform
Having an alarm which you can use to contact someone for help if you have a fall can be useful. This kind of alarm is usually a portable alarm that you can either wear round your neck like a pendant or on your wrist like a watch. If you had a fall you would press the button on it and an alert would be sent out and someone would help you off the floor. To find out more, or to order an alarm, visit our ATEC 24 page.