Preventing falls and avoiding accidents in the home
As you get older, your risk of falling increases. Even if you're still active, you could have poor eyesight, slower reaction times, weaker muscles, or problems with your balance - all of which can lead to accidents or falls.
Tips to prevent you from falling:
- use a non-slip mat by your bath or shower for better surface grip and install a handrail for extra support if needed
- keep your home clutter and obstacle free, especially stairs, so you can move around easily
- make sure your home is well lit, especially around the stairs and landing
- wear well-fitting shoes or slippers
- get help if you need to lift something heavy
- do gentle exercise to improve your balance and muscle strength
- have regular health and eye tests
- eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of calcium to keep your bones strong
- remember to always take your time whatever you are doing.
What to do if you have a fall
If you're not hurt and you feel strong enough to get up, don't get up quickly. Roll onto your hands and knees and look for a stable piece of furniture, such as a chair or bed.
Hold on to the furniture with both hands to support yourself and, when you feel ready, slowly get up. Sit down and rest for a while before carrying on with your daily activities.
If you are hurt or unable to get up, try to get someone's attention by calling out for help, banging on the wall or floor, or using your Lifeline button (if you have one). If possible, crawl to a telephone and dial 999 to request an ambulance.
Try to reach something to keep you warm, such as a blanket or coat, to put over you, particularly your legs and feet. Stay as comfortable as possible and try to change your position at least once every half an hour or so.
When you next see your doctor or nurse, tell them about your fall. They can check whether a health problem is causing you to fall and if it's likely to happen again. If it is, they may give you medication to improve your condition.
Make sure you tell your family that you have had a fall so that they can keep an eye on you and help you get any treatment you might need.
The NHS website provides advice on how to prevent falls at home.
The Which website offers advice on what to do if you are experiencing falls.
What else you can do
If you think you need equipment such as a walking stick, rails or a bath seat to make your home safer, or help you in the event of a fall, see Equipment and changes to your home for more information.
Install a key safe so that if you are in difficulty and have used an alarm or the phone to call for help, someone will be able to gain access to your property. The Key Safe Company are one of many companies who sell a range of secure key safes.
The Safer Homes Scheme from Creighton House offers home safety checks for people in Hammersmith and Fulham who are over the age of 65 or have a disability, including those who are at risk of falls. They can also help with small jobs such as putting up handrails or securing loose rugs.
Independent Age offer advice about paying for home maintenance and repairs.
Age UK Hammersmith & Fulham can provide information and advice on how to prevent falls and accidents in your home.