1. Have an eye test
Problems with eyesight can increase the risk of having a fall. Therefore it is really important to have regular eye checks and make sure you always have the correct glasses on. Keeping them clean is also a priority! If you wear bifocals (one lense which corrects far and near distance) it is beneficial to wear single-focus glasses when walking to prevent the change in focus occurring while on the move. Talk to your optician about this and what options are available to you. If walking outside make sure you take some extra time for your vision to adjust to changes in light (i.e. when walking from your house into the sun) and ensure it is well lit where you are walking, particularly in areas of the house which may not get enough light during the day. If the sunshine glare is too much you can use sunglasses or a hat outside to reduce the amount of glare.
2. Check your medications with your GP or Pharmacist
Research has shown that people who take many medications or who have had their medications recently changed are at an increased risk of having a fall. This can be because of the side effects of the medications or their interaction with other medications you are taking. Speak to your GP or pharmacist to make sure that the medications are the right ones for you. Also, make sure you take your medications correctly (Link to article on managing medications)
3. Get good fitting shoes
Correct footwear is essential to preventing falls. Shoes can contribute to trips or falls if they don’t fit properly, so it is so important to get the best fitting footwear for you. As we age our feet can change shape, develop pains and lose sensation which sometimes makes it difficult to walk. It is therefore vitally important to invest in good footwear. Make sure you visit a podiatrist/ chiropodist regularly if you have issues with bunions or ingrown toenails which may put you off balance. It is really important to get shoes or slippers that are firm fitting and with good grip on the soles. Don’t wear slippers which fall off at the back and don’t walk around in socks.
5. Keep mobile and strong
Get out and about in the fresh air for at least 30minutes every day. This will help to control blood pressure, improve balance, increase energy levels and improve strength and is excellent for your mental health. Check with your local health centre if there are any exercise or group fitness classes which you could attend.
6. Make your home environment safe
The majority of trips or falls happen in the home environment so it is vitally important to reduce general hazards in your home. Ensure that floors are non-slip and improve lighting around the home. Download this home environment checklist to ensure you are looking at the right things to make your home safer.
7. Talk to a health professional
Being afraid of falling can lead to you to doing less activities in your day and less things which you enjoy because of fear. This can lead to social isolation and low mood and in the long term increase your risk of falling. Talk to your GP about what might be causing the fear, sometimes seeing a Physiotherapist to improve your confidence with mobility or having an Occupational Therapist review your home environment can make you feel less worried about falling.