How to avoid falling | Oxfordshire County Council

How to avoid falling

Reducing the risk of falling in your own home, and what to do if you do fall.

Fallen women on staircase

Falls are not just the result of getting older - many falls can be prevented. By making some simple changes to your home you can lower your chances of falling.

Living room

  • Check for trip hazards such as loose wires and rugs.
  • Remove clutter and keep walkways clear.

Kitchen

  • Avoid overstretching or bending and keep things within easy reach.
  • Avoid climbing on chairs and stools.
  • Clean up spills immediately.

Bathroom

  • Use a non-slip mat in the bath.
  • Use grab-rails by the bath and toilet.

Bedroom

  • Turn on the lights at night when getting out of bed.
  • Keep a torch beside your bed in case of a power cut.
  • Avoid wearing long trailing nightwear.
  • Avoid leaving books and magazines lying on the floor beside the bed.

Stairs and hallway

  • Use the handrail and make sure it is secure.
  • Keep stairs clutter-free.
  • Put marker strips on the edge of stairs so you can see them easier.
  • Avoid carrying loads up and down stairs.
  • Make sure halls and stairs are well lit - use a 100 watt bulb.

Outside

 Leave an outside light on when returning home at night.

Some other things to consider

  • Wear properly-fitting footwear.
  • Have your eyes checked regularly.
  • Ask your GP to review your medication and ask about the side effects.
  • To avoid giddiness, get out of bed or up from a chair in slow stages.
  • Do not rush to answer the door or phone.
  • Wear your pendant alarm.
  • Increase your daily intake of calcium and vitamin D (dairy produce, bony tinned fish and sunlight).
  • Keep active.
  • Try adding exercise to your daily routine as this helps to increase your bone strength, flexibility and balance.

What to do if you fall

Attract help by:

  • using your care alarm pendant
  • crawling to a telephone
  • banging on the floor
  • shouting
  • trying to get up.

Keep warm

Cover yourself with anything to hand, for example, a towel, a rug or a blanket.

Keep moving

Move the parts of your body that don't hurt to stop any pressure on the bony parts.

Equipment

There is a range of equipment which you can request to help you live at home. You can also get information and advice from our occupational therapists or get details of suppliers which will sell you equipment privately. Find out more.

Oxfordshire Falls Service

The Oxfordshire Falls Service offers help and advice to help people both to avoid falls and to regain confidence if they have experienced a fall. You can refer yourself to the service or you may be referred by your GP, a district nurse or other health care practitioner.

The service covers the whole of Oxfordshire and clinics are held at the outpatient departments of:

  • Abingdon Community Hospital
  • Wallingford Community Hospital
  • Witney Community Hospital
  • Chipping Norton Community Hospital
  • The Health & Wellbeing Centre, Banbury
  • The John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford
  • Health & Wellbeing Centre, Bicester

The service is provided by specialist nurses who offer a detailed assessment and make recommendations about medication, physiotherapy and home adaptations.

More information

For information and advice please contact the Falls Information Line at 01993 903400 or download this leaflet (pdf format, 750KB)

Last reviewed
05 July 2017

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