Simple steps at home can help prevent falls in the elderly

Dr Sam Moon.
Dr Sam Moon.

As we get older it’s not unusual to become unsteady on your feet and even though falling is quite common it can lead to serious injury and affect your confidence.

Falling over can be caused by a number of factors, such as health conditions, medications and footwear so having regular check-ups are recommended so any issues can be picked up before they cause a fall.

The good news is that there are a lot of things you can do to stay steady on your feet and one of them includes simple home adaptations.

Rebecca Wilkinson, Team Lead for Community Physiotherapy in South Lakes said: “We find that a lot of slips, trips and falls actually happen around the home so making a few simple changes like spotting potential hazards can make your home a much safer place.

“If you have any rugs or mats at the top or bottom of your stairs, it’s best to remove them as they can be a trip hazard and ensure that all your rugs and mats are non-slip.

“Installing a night light near your bed is a great idea if you tend to get up through the night so you can see where you’re going – you can even install a motion-activated light which comes on as needed in case the light disturbs you.

“Keep an eye out for anything that could cause you to trip and remove it, like trailing wires and clutter. It’s also a good idea to avoid any clear glass furniture as it can be harder to see.”

As we get older our muscle strength and balance reduce, which can lead to a fall so taking part in exercise and staying active can help reduce your risk of a fall.

Getting your eyes and glasses checked regularly is also recommended as our eyesight changes as we age, and this can lead to a trip or loss of balance. It’s also worth having your hearing checked too as a problem with your ears can severely affect your balance.

Dr Sam Moon, GP Lead for Falls at Morecambe Bay CCG said: “Another lifestyle change to consider is the type of shoes or slippers you’re wearing, do they fit comfortably? Have they got grips on? It’s best not to walk around your house bare-foot or in socks or tights as this can also increase your risk of a fall.

“As we get older, we become frail and a fall can result in a much more serious injury, like a fracture, which takes a lot longer to recover from than when we were younger. Many falls are preventable and simple home adaptions can help prevent a trip to hospital.”

Don’t forget, if you have had any kind of fall, whether you hurt yourself or not, make sure you tell your GP and they can look at helping to prevent it from happening again.