How to stay safe from falls

The risk of falls in the home increases with age. A large number of falls occur due to a wide variety of reasons and while moving on one level. They can be caused through a variety of reasons involving hazards in the environment and underlying medical conditions. Strength, gait and balance, declining vision, mental health problems and dietary deficiencies are all risk factors that can contribute. Although prescription drugs rarely cause falls, they also can be a major contributory risk factor.

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Falls affect more than one-third of people over 65 years old and 40% of people over 80.

The risk factors for falls:

Physical ability and lack of mobility, balance and gait disorders

Status of nutrients – vitamin D and calcium deficiency

Drugs – analgesics, antidepressants etc.

Acute and chronic diseases and disorders including heart disease and stroke

Female gender

Environmental hazards

A history of previous falls.

Hip fractures

Fractures, especially hip fractures are one of the results of a debilitating fall. Ninety percent of hip fractures occur among people aged fifty or above.

Hip fracture is a leading cause of morbidity resulting in medical complications, infection, blood clots in the legs and failure to regain mobility.

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Avoid leaving items on the stairs – they can be a tripping hazard

Make sure the stairs are carefully maintained – broken or worn carpet should be repaired or removed

Avoid patterns on flooring that are repetitive and that can look misleading to those with declining vision

Stairs, landings and hallways must be brightly lit enough to light both directions

Make sure that the banister is sturdy. Installation of two easy-to-grip handrails provide more stability

Hip fractures in the elderly following a fall are a major cause of morbidity and mortality. They can lead to complications, infection, blood clots in the legs and failure to regain mobility. hip fracture can have a serious impact on a person’s life.

One method suggested for preventing hip fractures is through the use of an enhanced floor. Slippery flooring and shoes that do not fit are several key factors that contribute to more than one third of all falls annually.

Falls have become such a common occurrence that they almost seen as inevitable. Raising public awareness is therefore crucial. Professionals and carers can help older people to maintain an active life where possible by helping them to identify potential hazards and make known sources of help. If you’re looking for care for an older person, consider Local Live in Carers at a site like

Older people need to be made aware of:

The importance of using the right equipment for the task at hand

Loss of balance through sudden movements, such as getting up too fast from a chair or bed

Slipping and tripping hazards created by worn carpet, slippery floors or rugs, uneven surfaces, dragging cables and objects left lying around that are potential trip hazards

Ill-fitting or loose shoes and slippers that can cause instability

Grab rails and seats in the bathroom and kitchen can be an advantage if dizziness occurs

Spills on the floor must be cleaned to prevent slipping on them

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