Taking positive steps to avoid trips and falls

Be prepared in case you fall

  • NHS Inform shows you how to be prepared and know how to get up off the floor.
  • The Get Up And Go booklet provides information on how to make a plan in case you fall.
  • If you have a mobile phone, keep it charged and on you, even at home.
  • You or your health or social care practitioner can request a falls assessment of you and your home environment by calling Social Care Direct on 0131 200 2324.
  • A community alarm can alert for help if you fall. You can apply for an alarm online or phone Social Care Direct.

Ways to reduce your risk of falls

How is your health?

  • Dizziness, blackouts, fainting?
  • Headaches, chest pain or palpitations?
  • Do you manage your health conditions well?

Your GP can help with these. It is important to tell your GP if you have had a fall.

Are you taking medications?

Some medications can increase your falls risk. Ask your pharmacist or GP for a medication review.

How is your eyesight?

Do you hear well?

It is a good idea to get your hearing tested regularly. Your GP can arrange a referral to Audiology. Many opticians also offer hearing tests free of charge.

How are your feet and shoes?

Foot problems and shoes that are well worn or don’t fit well can increase your risk of falls. A podiatrist can help you and you can self-refer to Podiatry. It is a good idea to to have shoes that have good grip, especially during winter and to consider replacing your shoes if they are well worn or don’t fit well.

Do you have any pain or injuries?

Pain and injuries can make you less steady on your feet. Your GP surgery can refer you to a physiotherapist. If you live in Edinburgh, you can self-refer to physiotherapy.

How is your walking?

Balance is important to reduce your risk of falls. If you think a walking aid could help, a physiotherapist can help with this. If you live in Edinburgh, you can self-refer for a walking aid assessment.

How is your home environment?

There are often ways to make your home safer. Check your home is well lit and you have space to easily walk around to avoid tripping. You may benefit from equipment to make you home safer and easier to live in. Your health professional can assess and refer you for this. If you live in Edinburgh, you can order community equipment and minor adaptations yourself.

Do your have enough energy?

Eating well and drinking plenty of water are good ways of making sure you have enough energy. Eating foods with plenty of calcium and taking the right amount of vitamin D can help maintain healthy bones. Your GP can help if you are not sure.

Are you getting enough activity?

Staying active – we are all recommended to take at least 150 mins of exercise a week including strength and balance exercises twice a week. For more information, see the Physical Activity Benefits for Adults and Older Adults leaflet. There are lots of health benefits that come from doing this including reducing the risk of falls.

You can look here for strength and balance exercises suitable for doing at home.

These exercise and activity options can help you stay active and reduce your risk of falls. They are available in Edinburgh.

Steady Steps is a 16-week programme delivered by Edinburgh Leisure, for anyone who has had, or is at risk of having, a fall. If you feel you would benefit from taking part in Steady Steps, speak to your health practitioner who can refer you. Each weekly session includes specific exercises designed to improve balance, endurance, strength and flexibility.

Be Able is for people who like to improve their strength, walking, balance and confidence with everyday tasks as well as to reduce their risk of falls. After an assessment at home to check for suitability, you are offered a personalised programme including advice, supported outdoor walking sessions to help achieve your goals and up to 16 strength and balance sessions at home or online. You can either refer yourself or be referred by your health and social care practitioner.

Fit for Health, delivered by Edinburgh Leisure, offers 3 options over 16 sessions, including group activities, gym sessions and online videos. If you have a long-term condition, you can be referred to Fit for Health by your healthcare practitioner.

Movement for Memories , also delivered by Edinburgh Leisure, is designed to support people living with dementia to be active. If you have dementia, you can be referred to Movement for Memories by your healthcare practitioner, or you can complete the online self-referral form.

Ageing Well, delivered by Edinburgh Leisure in partnership with NHS Lothian, offers a range of accessible and enjoyable city-wide activities which support people to become and remain active in later life. All Ageing Well activities are subsidised by voluntary contributions from as little as £1.

Paths for All: There are lots of ways to be active. Paths for All is a Scottish charity that provides health walks in local areas. You can follow this link to find a health walk local to you.

Smplicare: Are you interested in taking part in research on healthy ageing and falls? Smplicare is a UK-wide, UK Government-funded study that provides smart watches and smart scales to suitable participant. To register your interest, you need to be a UK resident over 55 who has a fear of falling or who has fallen in the last year. For more information, please visit the Smplicare website.