Top tips to prevent slips, trips and falls in later life

Top tips to prevent slips, trips and falls in later life

Author: Helen Chapman

This week (20th September 2021) is National Fall Awareness week so we thought we’d take the opportunity to share with you, our top tips for preventing slips, trips and falls in later life.

Many people wish to remain living independently in their own home for as long as possible, but this is often dependent on it being safe to do so. Slips, trips and falls are a common cause of injury as we age. But the good news is, you can take steps to reduce the risk of these happening to you.

Whether you are worried about this for yourself or a loved one, we hope you’ll pick up some useful tips in this article.

Keeping fit and active

Loss of muscle is a natural part of the ageing process and has a knock on impact on your posture and balance. This in turn, can lead to an increased risk of slips, trips and falls.

Keeping fit and active is vital to help reduce muscle loss whilst improving your posture and coordination. There are lots of options available from chair-based workouts to walking football.

Take a look at Age UK for ideas and to find something close to you. Don’t forget to seek medical advice before starting any new exercise regime.

Eat well to stay well

A reduced appetite is common in later life, making it all the more important to ensure that what you eat and drink gives you the maximum nutritional benefit. If you find large meals daunting, swap to eating smaller, ‘snack-size’ meals more frequently throughout the day.

Eat a rainbow to make sure you include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, include healthy fats, calcium rich foods, protein and complex carbohydrates for a well balanced diet. This will keep your energy levels up and your blood sugar stable throughout the day, avoiding energy dips that could make you more prone to slips, trips and falls. Take a look at our article about 5 steps to healthy eating in later life for more information about creating healthy, well-balanced meals.

Maintaining good hydration is as important as eating well. Aim to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day whilst moderating your intake of caffeine based drinks or sugary fruit juices.

Keep on top of regular health checks

Deteriorating eyesight, or wearing spectacles with an out of date prescription, can increase your risk of slips, trips and falls. You should have your sight and eye health checked by a reputable optometrist at least every two years, or more often if advised.

Your hearing and ear health is also important. It can be easy to dismiss changes to your hearing as a natural part of the ageing process. However, ear problems can seriously affect your balance so if you notice a change in your hearing, or are suffering ear pain, it’s always wise to get it checked.

Monitor for medication side effects

Some medications can cause side effects such as dizziness, loss of balance and drowsiness. If your medication dosage changes, or you start taking a new medication, stay alert for any new side effects and discuss them with your GP or health professional.

Stay safe at home

Slips, trips and falls are one of the most common causes of accidents at home. With that in mind, it makes sense to take steps to identify and remove hazards wherever possible. This includes;

  • Ensuring there are no trailing wires and leads that could be a trip hazard.
  • Avoid moving furniture around as the changes could result in accidents.
  • Place lamps next to beds, sofas and armchairs so they can be easily switched on without needing to move around in the dark.
  • Remove rugs and mats or, if that’s not possible, make sure they aren’t in places that could result in serious accidents (for example at the top of the stairs).

Stay safe when you’re out and about

Slips, trips and falls can (and do) happen outside the home so it’s sensible to take actions to reduce the risk when you’re out and about. Wearing supportive and comfortable shoes will help improve your balance. If your fingers aren’t as nimble as they used to be, choose shoes with velcro fastenings that are easy to do up.

Whilst you might be resistant to using a walking stick or frame, they do say “pride comes before a fall” so we’d recommend swallowing your pride in favour of staying safe!

And, of course, consider the weather. As we head towards the autumn and winter months, rain, ice and snow are treacherous enough for those without mobility problems. If you know you’re a little unsteady on your feet, think twice about going out in particularly bad weather.

Ask for help

If you are at all worried about slips, trips and falls, it’s important to seek help. Your GP is a good place to start as they will be able to help you understand if there are any underlying causes to be addressed. They can also signpost you to other sources of support and advice.

If you have a mobile phone, pre-programme important phone numbers and keep it in your pocket in case of an emergency. Alternatively, you might like to consider a personal home alarm system with an emergency alarm that you wear around your neck.

At The Dower House we believe it’s important to help residents maintain their physical independence for as long as possible. We encourage people to take part in regular exercise classes, our accessible grounds can be enjoyed safely by all residents, and communal areas have furniture that is designed to be easy to get in and out of.

If you would like to know more about life at The Dower House, please download our brochure or contact one of the team by calling 01962 882848

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