Fact Sheet - Avoiding Falls At Home

avoiding falls

18/10/2021

Thirty per cent of people aged 65 and over will fall at least once a year. For those aged 80 and over it is 50 per cent (NICE, 2013).

  • Over 60% of falls happen in the home.
  • Falls that result in hospital admission cost an average £5000 each time, weighing heavy on the NHS.
  • In the UK, falls are the most common cause of injury related deaths in people over the age of 75.
  • Ten per cent of hip-fracture patients will die within one month of their fracture, 30 per cent will die within a year and there are 13,800 hip-fracture-related deaths a year in the UK.
  • Falls can have an impact on confidence, increase isolation and reduce independence.

What are some causes of falls?

Falls in older people are almost ‘multifactorial’. This means there are usually several factors that are contributing to a fall, or to a person’s fall risk.

Sensory and balance problems

  • The normal changes of ageing such as poor eyesight, poor hearing.
  • Illness and physical conditions can affect strength and balance.
  • Loss of muscle (and mobility).
  • Poor balance.

Medication

  • Medication can produce side effects which can alter balance and lead to falls. e.g. medications for high blood pressure, diabetes and heart conditions can cause unsteadiness.
  • Falls are more likely if you are taking four or more medicines.

Home hazards

  • Indoor hazards such as internal steps, rugs on the floor, slippery tiles in the bathroom.
  • Inadequate lighting between the bed and the bathroom or toilet at night.
  • Poor footwear such as loose slippers, shoes that do not fit properly.
  • Garden and outside hazards such as steps without handrails or footpaths that are slippery or uneven.

Tips on how to prevent falls

  • Eating healthy and nutritious food.
  • Drinking enough fluids.
  • Maintain a healthy and active lifestyle, exercise may prevent joint and muscle weakening.
  • Limit alcohol intake.
  • Take medication as prescribed.
  • Before getting out of bed, sit on the side for a moment before standing, allowing blood pressure to adjust to limit dizziness.
  • If you have a walking frame or walking stick in place be sure to use it.
  • Have handrails put on both sides of stairways and install grab rails.
  • A falls pendent alarm may be useful.
  • Use night lights in bedrooms, hallways, bathroom.
  • Remove rugs or fasten them down with carpet tape.
  • Do not put electrical cords across pathways.
  • Wear suitable shoes that fit correctly, do not walk in socks.

We can arrange for an Occupational Therapist to visit and give advice, please contact Michele Bushell, our Care Manager on 01625 526850 if you would like further information.