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Fall prevention

There are several measures that an older person can take to help prevent a fall. Simple, everyday measures around the home include:

  • using non-slip mats in the bathroom
  • mopping up spills to avoid wet floors
  • getting help lifting or moving items that are heavy or difficult to lift
  • removing clutter and ensuring that all areas of the home are properly lit.

Healthcare professionals take falls in older people very seriously because of the potentially serious impact that falls can have. As a result, there is a great deal of help and support available for older people and you should feel comfortable to ask your doctor about the various options.

You may want to have a medication review if medication that you are taking is causing side effects, such as dizziness, which is increasing your risk of having a fall. An eye examination may also be beneficial if you are having problems with your vision. A visit to your home by an occupational therapist to identify potential hazards and offer advice may be useful in prevention of falls.

Strength and balance training can be particularly beneficial to older people, and many local community centres and gyms offer specialist courses. The Chinese martial art tai chi has also been shown to be very useful for older people because it involves slow, controlled movements and focuses on balance.

Sources: myagedcare (Falls management resources and contacts), NHS Choices, UK (Falls)

Last reviewed: September 2015

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