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NHS Kernow’s website closed on 30 June 2022. Visit the NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Integrated Care Board website for information about our health and care services.

Falls prevention

Falls are a common and serious problem for older people. At least a third of people aged over 65 will fall each year nationally.
In Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, which has a significantly higher number of older people than the UK average, this means up to 58,000 people are likely to have falls every year, with up to 2,900 requiring hospital treatment.

Reasons for having a fall

Understanding why we fall is key to prevention. The natural process of ageing can often place older people at an increasing risk of having a fall.

There are 3 health reasons for this which are outlined below.

  1. Chronic health conditions: heart disease, dementia, or low blood pressure (hypotension). Dizziness is a common symptom of low blood pressure.
  2. Impairments: poor vision, or muscle weakness.
  3. Disabilities that can affect their balance.

Reduce your risk of having a fall

There are several ways that you can reduce your risk of having a fall, including doing exercises to improve your strength and balance, and making simple changes to your home.

Doing regular strength exercises and balance exercises can reduce your risk of having a fall. This can take the form of simple activities such as walking and dancing.

Multi-factorial falls interventions

Packages of care, such as exercise education and home modifications can also be beneficial. These interventions increase older people’s ability to continue to live safely and independently and can include the following:

  • vision assessment and correction of impaired vision
  • home hazard assessment and modification
  • patient and staff education
  • medication review
  • hip protectors
  • rehabilitation strategies

Simple falls early interventions

Simple early interventions can provide effective results. You might not notice your health changing as it can happen gradually, so having regular check-ups can help any issues to be picked up before they cause a fall.

It is important to:

  • stay active
  • eat well
  • keep hydrated
  • take care of your eyes
  • check for hearing problems
  • combined sight and hearing problems can make it difficult to maintain your balance
  • manage your medications
  • support your bone health
  • choose the right shoe

Many slips, trips and falls happen in and around the home. Keeping an eye out for potential hazards can make your home a safer place. Age UK can provide home adaptations to help with home tasks.

Falls service

Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust provide a falls service. The falls team provides older people who have fallen or who are at high risk of falling with a full assessment to help manage and reduce risk of falls.

Falls prevention exercises

Resources

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