Falls are the number one reason older people are taken to an emergency department in a hospital. Even if a fall doesn’t cause a serious injury, it can cause distress and worry. Sometimes this worry can prevent individuals from leading active and independent lives.
There are lots of things we can do to help reduce the risk of you having a fall. This includes undertaking manageable exercise, looking after your eyes, making sure you are on the right medication and checking your home to identify any potential hazards.
If you are over 65 and have had a fall in the past or are worried about falling, your GP or other professional you have contact with will discuss the option of referring you to Trafford Co-ordination Centre (TCC) for help.
One of their qualified nurses will then contact you via telephone and enrol you into their Care Co-ordination service for Falls Prevention.
The nurse will discuss your individual needs with you on the telephone and advise you of services you can access that may minimise your risk of falling. With your consent they will refer to other organisations – including Age UK, Trafford Leisure Trust, Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Services (GMFRS), and other NHS organisations – to ensure you have access to all the services you require.
These services may include:
Vision Assessment: an eye test with a local optician
- Strength and Balance Exercise / Classes: these safe exercise classes take place at a leisure centre or other community site; these classes are specifically developed to help reduce the chance of you having a fall
- Home Hazard Assessment: including where the Fire Service will undertake a Safe and Well visit in your home
- Access to assistive technologies: these are pieces of equipment – including pendant alarms and other sensors – which can be fitted in your home and will support you to maintain your independence, safety and wellbeing.
The TCC also aims to raise awareness of the steps you can take yourself to reduce your risk of falling and remain STEADY.
S – Slippers shoes and footwear
Take care of your feet by keeping toe nails short and feet well moisturised. Think about the shoes that you wear, are they supportive? Do they need repair? Do they have good grip and support for your arch and ankle? Wear well-fitted shoes and be mindful of the clothes you wear, hems that are too long over your feet could cause you to trip. Always tie belts and cords on clothing and dressing gowns.
T – Tablets and toilet
Are the tablets that you need to take affecting your balance or causing you to feel unsteady? If they are making you feel light headed or dizzy speak to your local pharmacist or GP as you could be at increased risk of falling.
Some medicines that may affect you are:
- Blood pressure tablets
- Heart medicines
- Water tablets
- Muscle relaxers
- Sleeping tablets
Be aware that alcohol may increase your risk of falling when mixed with some medications. If you are on four or more medicines a day you should have a medication review with your doctor annually.
*Do not stop medication suddenly without consulting your GP, if you have any concerns about your medications contact your GP to discuss.
E – Eyes and ears
Book in for regular eye tests (free if you are over 60). Report hearing difficulties or pain to your GP as ear problems can affect your balance.
A – Active strength and balance.
Take part in exercise and activities that challenge and improve your balance and strengthen legs.
D – Drinking and diet
Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, drink plenty of fluids and reduce alcohol intake.
Y – You and home
Improve your confidence and reduce your fear of falling at home by making sure it is well lit and hazard free.