One of the more frustrating things about growing older is that minor falls and knocks are no longer as easy to brush off as they were when you were younger. As you grow older, avoiding slips, trips and falls becomes even more important.
Of course, anyone can have a fall. But research shows that older people are not only more vulnerable to the impact but are also more likely to slip in the first place.
Around a third of over 65s living independently will have at least one fall a year and of these around half will fall more frequently. Thankfully, most of these incidents don’t cause any serious injuries. But they can still really knock a person’s confidence and make them question their independence.
Falls can be caused by any number of things, from slippery surfaces to balance problems, bad lighting or even just a loose carpet. Because of this, it’s near impossible to be able to guarantee that no falls will happen. However, you can take various preventative steps, including:
1. use non-slip mats in particularly hazardous areas such as the bathroom
2. make sure all spills are mopped up quickly
3. don’t be afraid to ask for help lifting anything difficult to handle
4. make sure your home is well lit and use night lights to ensure you are safe if you need to get up in the night
5. fix any crumples or frays in carpets or bumps in your flooring
6. wear sturdy slippers or shoes around the house and avoid slippery tights or socks
7. consider re-arranging your cupboards and layouts to make access to the things you need easier
8. keep your home as clutter free as you can – make sure you have enough work space in the kitchen to handle hot food and drink, don’t leave things at the bottom of the stairs and make sure the area around your front door is clear
9. keep yourself fit and flexible and choose exercises that help improve your balance like Tai Chi
10. keep a mobile phone with you at all times – you never know when you might need it
If you do fall, the most important thing to remember is not to panic. Take your time to assess if you’re hurt and how best to get back on your feet. If you’re worried that you’ve injured yourself, call for help immediately – as the old adage goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry!