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What to do if I have had a fall or am fearful of falling

If you have had a fall, you are not alone. One third of people over the age of 65 will fall each year1. In Southwark and Lambeth this equates to over 16,000 people.

What causes people to fall?

There are many reasons why people fall. These include:

  • multiple medications
  • poor balance
  • muscle weakness
  • arthritis
  • dizziness
  • heart problems
  • visual problems.

What can be done to stop me from falling?

Getting in contact with the right services could prevent or lower the number of falls you have. This may include:

  • visiting a doctor to check your overall health and investigate your symptoms - for example, a medication you are taking may be causing you to feel dizzy
  • having tests to check how well your heart is working
  • seeing a physiotherapist who can check your muscle strength and balance and recommend exercises to improve these
  • seeing an occupational therapist to talk about how you cope at home as there may be some equipment such as grab rails that you could use to make things easier
  • having your eyes or feet checked.

Where do I go for help?

If you are having falls or are afraid of falling, please contact your local health or social care professional, such as your:

  • GP
  • practice nurse
  • district nurse
  • social worker.

These health and social care professionals can give you advice, assess your needs and refer you to the nearest falls clinic or a physiotherapist who can look at options for exercise aimed at reducing the likelihood of you falling in the future. There are a number of different treatment options available if you are falling or are fearful of falling. Once you have had an assessment, your healthcare professional will discuss these options with you.

1. Office of National Statistics 2002, taken from Warwickshire Specialist Health Promotion Service, Preventing Falls in Older People, 2002.