Around 14,000 people die every year in the UK as a direct result of falls or injuries sustained, with around a third of people aged 65 and over falling at least once a year.
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. In October to December last year 40 people attended Blackpool A&E as a result of a fall.
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.
Dr Neil Hartley-Smith a Blackpool GP and Clinical Director for the two Fylde Coast NHS clinical commissioning groups said: “A lot of slips, trips and falls actually happen around the home so making a few simple changes can make your home a much safer space.
“One change could include removing any rugs or mats that you may have at the top or bottom of your stairs as these can be a trip hazard. Another home adaptation would be installing a night light near your bed so if you get up in the night you can see where you’re going. A motion-activated light which would only come on as needed wouldn’t disturb your sleep.
“Having a look around your home and spotting potential hazards would also be really helpful, so keeping an eye out for anything that could cause you to trip and then removing it, like wires and clutter. I also like to advise people 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 Hartley Smith added: “Another lifestyle change to consider is the type of shoes or slippers you’re wearing. It’s best to make sure they fit you properly and that they have grips on them. Also, try to avoid walking around your house in socks, tights or even when bare-foot as this can increase your risk of falling and hurting yourself.
“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.”
Taking part in exercise and staying active can help reduce your risk of a fall. This video shows you how to do a few simple exercises at home: https://www.healthierlsc.co.uk/campaigns/self-care/preventing-falls.