Advice on preventing falls

Older people are more likely to suffer serious or long-term injuries as a result of a fall. In some cases, this can lead to a loss of:

  • mobility
  • independence

However, there are practical steps you can take to:

  • stay mobile
  • reduce the risk of falls
  • reduce the impact of a fall

Exercise and stay mobile

It can be helpful to:

  • move around when you can — doing this can help you keep muscle strength
  • attend community exercise classes, including walking programmes, strength and balance exercises and Tai Chi

If you have any problems with your balance or mobility, contact your GP. They can ask a physiotherapist to assess you.

Make sure you have the right aids and clothing

If you have a walking aid, use it at all times and keep it in good working order. If you need a replacement rubber stopper, you can get this from your local physiotherapy department.

It can also help to wear:

  • your glasses and hearing aids, if you have them
  • footwear indoors, because walking in socks or barefoot can increase the risk of falling
  • clothing that’s comfortable and not too long
  • your Telecare pendant, even when you take a bath or shower

Think about your food and medication

Make sure you eat regularly and keep your fluid levels up. If you have any problems eating or drinking, let a health or care worker know.

It can also help to make sure you're taking medication at the right times and in the right amounts. However, if you're experiencing side effects, such as dizziness or drowsiness, let your GP or pharmacist know right away.

Be aware of potential hazards

One way to lower the risk of a serious fall is to check that there are no hazards in your living space. For example, if you make sure there are no items on your floor or carpet, this will make a trip or slip less likely.

If you fall or feel unsteady

You should always tell your GP or care worker if you:

  • feel unwell or unsteady on your feet
  • fall, even if you're not seriously injured

If you let them know that you've had a problem, it can help them to prevent a bad fall in the future. 

Find out more

For further information on practical steps you can take, read Public Health Scotland's guidance on avoiding trips and falls.