Keeping safe from falling

Falling can not only cause serious injury, but can also result in secondary problems such as hypothermia and pressure sores.

Look out for things that could cause you to fall in your home:

  • Remove loose rugs or mats (especially on a slippery floor)
  • Do not leave electric or telephone leads trailing across the floor, have them fixed to a wall
  • Have hand rails fitted and use non slip mats in your bath or shower to prevent slipping on wet surfaces
  • Keep as active as possible. Even standing from a chair and walking around the room requires balance and strength. Inactivity can result in weakening of muscles and loss of confidence. 
  • Keep a nightlight or a torch in your bedroom you can use if you need to get out of bed during the night
  • Keep your stairs free from clutter and consider having handrails fitted on both sides 
  • If you have pets, make sure they wear a collar with a bell. This will make easier for to be aware of where they are when they are moving around.

Exercising regularly

Regular exercise can help to maintain balance and build muscle strength, making it easier to do activities such as getting out of a chair or walking up and down stairs. Remember to speak to your GP for advice if you have not been exercising regularly or if you have a condition which restricts your movements.


Checking your eyes and hearing

It is important to have your eyes checked regularly as often as your optician advises. This is usually at least every two years. This will help to identify any difficulties which might affect your balance and co-ordination. Your balance can be affected if you have problems with your ears. The problem may be as simple as a build-up of wax or an infection.  In some circumstances you may be referred for a hearing test. If needed, you may be prescribed a free NHS prescribed hearing aid. 

Looking after your feet

Make sure you wear well-fitted shoes and slippers that are in good condition and support your ankles. Take care of your feet by trimming your toenails regularly and seeing your GP or a podiatrist about any foot problems.

Managing your medicines

If you feel faint or dizzy after taking certain medicines, let your GP know. They will check the dose prescribed and look at alternatives.

Keeping your bones healthy

You can keep your bones strong by eating a diet that is rich in vitamin D and calcium. Activities such as brisk walking also help to strengthen your bones. If you find you break bones easily after minor bumps or falls you may have osteoporosis. Speak to your GP if you think you may have this condition.

Tackling the fear of falling

If you have had a fall or are worried about falling, make sure you talk to your GP. Your GP can check your balance and movement. They can refer you for a falls risk assessment or classes provided by the Falls and Bone Health team. 


Movement alarms and sensors  

There a several types of movement alarms and sensors available that can help sound an alarm and alert a family member or carer to make sure you get help as soon as possible:

  • Alarms with a pressure sensitive mat that can placed under a mattress or on a chair, and will set off an alarm if you get out of bed or up from the chair
  • Other alarms which are placed under a mattress can detect when you’ve left your bed, and start a timer. They can be set to alert a carer or relative in another part of your home that you have got up from a bed and not returned 
  • Alarms used to detect movement in a particular area of a room or house. They work via a passive infrared detector, which activates the alert when the beam is broken, or a pressure sensitive mat
  • Alarms which sound an alert if you go through a door are also available
  • Chair occupancy sensors work by sensitive mats being placed on your chair or wheelchair. When you stand up, they notify a carer by triggering a pager.



Useful contacts:

Richmond Council Adult Access Team
Address: Adult Social Services, Civic Centre, 44 York Street, Twickenham, TW1 3BZ
Phone: 020 8891 7971
Minicom: 18001 020 8891 7971