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Blog: How to reduce the risk of falls

18 September 2023

This UK Falls Awareness week we are taking a look at why everyone should be falls aware and what we can do to reduce the risk of falling as we grow older.

In later life many of us become more likely to slip, trip or stumble, and more likely to have a serious injury such a hip fracture as a result.

But frailty – a loss of our ability to ‘bounce back’ from otherwise minor accidents and illnesses – isn’t an inevitable part of ageing. There are steps that individuals can take, from mid-life and throughout later life, to minimise the possibility of a debilitating, and in some instances devastating, fall.

And there are actions that people who work or volunteer in community groups and services can take to reduce the risk of falls among the older people they support. 

If falls aren’t a pressing concern for you, and want to keep it that way, Age Scotland has a free Keeping your feet in later life advice guide.  You can read this and order it on our website.  Having healthy habits is key for cutting your risk of falls, including eating well, staying hydrated and being physically active.

The Take Five to Age Well pledge campaign can help you to start putting in place small changes in daily routine that will make you stronger and steadier as you age - and make you generally happier and healthier. You can take part in Take Five to Age Well here.

If you have recently had a fall, or a close call, Age Scotland’s Worried about slips, trips and stumbles advice guide is for you.  You can read and order it here.  The NHS Inform website also has information about what raises the risk of falls, and what you can do to reduce these risks.  Falls Assistant is an online resource that allows you to explore your personal falls risks, for instance regarding medications side-effects.  It then offers self-management advice based on the answers you’ve typed in.  You can visit the Falls Assistant website here. 

If you work in a care home, React to Falls is a free online training resource.  The British Geriatric Society also offers free online frailty training for health and social care professionals, accessible here.  The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) has free online awareness training for individual and organisations to become ‘Falls Fighters’.  You can access the course here.

The environment we move around in contributes, for good or ill, to our risk of falls. Living Streets campaign to make walking in our communities safe and accessible.  Poorly designed and/or maintained streets is  one of their targets, as this report about the outdoor falls in England illustrates.  You can find out about their activities in Scotland here