Improving safety in the home can help prevent falls and injuries, whilst allowing you to continue to live independently.
In Cambridgeshire in 2019/20, around 2895 people aged 65 and over were admitted to hospital as an emergency with injuries due to falls. Just under 725 admittances were due to a fracture of the hip. Most falls in older people happen in the home, and the majority of fractures occur as a result of a fall from a standing height.
Falls, slips and trips are a leading cause of disability among the older population and can result in ill health, lengthy hospital stays, residential care, loss of independence, and greatly affect quality of life. There are steps you can take to reduce the risks.
Worried about falling?
The Healthy You falls management exercise programme has free, small group classes for people who have fallen or become unsteady on their feet to help improve strength, balance and confidence.
There are also steps you can take yourself to reduce your risk of falling.
Create a safe living environment
Good lighting can help to stop slips, trips and falls. Lighting is particularly important near steps, stairways and corridors. Replace light bulbs which have stopped working, and use the brightest suitable energy-saving replacements.
Night lights and sensor lights will make night time trips to the toilet safer.
Remove trip hazards
Most falls happen in the home. Rugs, power cables and other items placed on the floor can all be trip hazards. All corridors, or walkways, should be clear of obstructions.
Replace frayed carpets and use non-slip mats.
Equipment and technology
There is technology to help you stay safe in your home. This includes sensors to let people know when you are moving around normally. Or alarms to alert people if you fall.
The Age UK Handyperson Service can fit grabs rails in your home for free.
Look after yourself
Trim your toenails regularly and see your GP or a chiropodist if you have foot problems.
Poor eyesight can increase the risk of falls. See an optician if you notice any issues with your eyesight.
Various medications can cause dizziness. You should have regular medication reviews with your GP, and make an appointment to see them if you start having dizzy spells.
Wear well-fitting shoes and slippers. Loose slippers can cause you to trip. Avoid loose, trailing clothes such as scarves.
Exercise to improve strength and balance
Doing strength and balance exercise classes twice a week helps lots of people to remain fit and independent for longer. Find out more about the Stay Stronger for Longer campaign at the Be Well website.