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A fall can destroy confidence and reduce independence. However there are lots of simple things that we can do to keep us steady on our feet.

Trips and falls

FALLSTOP top tips to stay steady

As we get older, our chance of having a fall increases. Some falls can even result in serious injury. Each year, one in three people 65 years or over will experience one or more falls, and one in two people who are 80 years and over will fall. If you have experienced a fall, you are twice as likely to have another within a year.

F – Falls history and Fear of falling

If you have a fall or are worried about having a fall, visit your GP as it is important to find out why as many falls can be prevented. If you feel light headed or get dizzy when you stand or turn talk to your doctor.

A – Ask about medications

Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the possible side effects of your medication. Some medicine can cause drowsiness, dizziness, weakness and can affect your balance.

L – Look after your feet

Problems with your feet, like untrimmed toe nails, bunions, corns or pain, can change the way you walk and can affect your balance. If you have any problems, you should see a podiatrist. Your shoes and slippers can also cause falls. Wear shoes or slippers which have laces or a Velcro fastening, a low heel and a non-slip sole, and that fit well.

L – Loss of strength and balance

Stay active as this can help keep your legs strong and helps your balance. If you are a little more unsteady on your feet that you used to be, simple exercises at any age can improve your balance and strengthen your legs.

S – Strong bones Keep your bones strong

Eat a healthy diet which contains calcium, as calcium gives your bones strength and rigidity. Vitamin D is essential as it helps our bodies absorb the calcium, 10 minutes in the sunshine a day provides us with the amount of Vitamin D our bodies need. Regular exercise can keep bones strong too.

T – Trip and slip hazards Make your home safe

Check for hazards around your home and keep it clear of clutter.

O – Opticians

Visit the opticians yearly for an eye test – if you are over 60 it is free. Keep your house well lit, and take care when using bifocals and varifocals on stairs and steps. Poor hearing can affect your balance, visit your GP for advice.

P – Problems with bladder control

Problems with the bladder and bowel can cause some people to need the toilet urgently or frequently. Rushing to the toilet could cause a fall. If you have any concerns, speak to your doctor.

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