Falls Awareness

Published: 22/05/2019

Around one in three adults over 65 who live at home will have at least one fall a year, and about half of these will have more frequent falls.

While most of these falls don’t cause serious injury, they can still be a cause of injury and sometimes death if the injury is serious. As well as physical injuries like broken bones, falls can also knock your confidence and make it harder to keep your independence.

Anyone can have a fall, but older people are more vulnerable than others. Although you might think that falls are just an inevitable part of growing older, there are lots of things you can do to prevent them. For example, check your home for hazards, such as poor lighting, wires and wet or slippy surfaces. It’s also a good idea to have your eyes checked regularly; this will help to identify any difficulties with your prescription or vision that may be affecting your balance and co-ordination. Sometimes medicines can make you feel faint or dizzy; you should let your GP know if this ever happens.

If you have a fall, it is important to keep calm. If you are not hurt and you feel strong enough to get up, move slowly and make sure you rest for a while before carrying on with your daily activities. If you are hurt or unable to get up, try to get someone's attention and if possible crawl to a telephone and dial 999 for an ambulance. It’s important to keep warm, try and reach for a blanket to put over you and try to change your position at least once every half an hour or so.

A free falls risk assessment is available to Wandsworth residents in a number of locations in the borough (including home visits for housebound residents).  The service is available to Wandsworth residents who can answer yes to any of these questions:

  • Are you over 50 years old?
  • Are you taking more than one medication a day?
  • Are you worried about falling?
  • Have you fallen in the last 12 months?

Residents can ask their GP to arrange a falls risk assessment or call 020 8812 4079 for help and advice on how to self-refer.

Local GP and chair of NHS Wandsworth Clinical Commissioning Group Dr Nicola Jones said:

Falls are common in older people and people over the age of 75 are more likely than younger people to die as a consequence of a fall. That’s why it is so important to know the simple steps you can take to prevent or lower the risk of having a fall. It’s also important to take action to keep your bones healthy and your GP can give you advice about that.”

She added:

If you or someone you care for is at risk of having a fall, talk to your GP. We can give you lots of advice and information to reduce your risk of falls and the injuries that are caused by them.”

You can find more advice, information and top tips on Age UK’s website and advice on falls, including advice for carers, on the NHS Choices website.