Are you at risk from falling?

These are the most common risk factors in having a fall - if any of these apply to you or a relative, don't ignore them - ask your GP to refer you to sources of help. You can also call our Care Coordination Centre on 0300 123 24 25 to ask for a referral to occupational therapy, physiotherapy, or the continence service if you are having to get up frequently at night. If you have been falling, have difficulty walking, or have lost confidence, tell the call analyst.

1 An unexplained trip or fall in the last year - this means you are more at risk of having another fall

2 Feeling lightheaded when you stand up - this could mean you have low blood pressure, perhaps because of medication you are taking. Take time getting up, pump your arms to increase circulation - don't rush

3 Difficulty standing from a chair, bed or toilet -you may find some equipment, such a grab rails, can help. Speak to your GP about getting an occupational therapy assessment or a referral to social services. Age UK will also be able to help - click here to find out more.

4 Difficulty walking with poor balance - ask your GP about a physiotherapy assessment. You may be offered individual treatment or group classes to improve your balance and strength, and given advice about walking aids.

5 Long-term conditions such as depression, arthritis, stroke, Parkinson's Disease or diabetes - these conditions, and changes caused by age or illness, can affect the normal balance of the body. People with these conditions need to understand their risk from falling and how they can keep their bones strong.

6 Taking more than six medicines a day - you need to understand what drugs you are taking, and make sure you are taking then in the right way, such as before or after food, or at a certain time of day. Side effects can include drowsiness or dizziness - ask you GP or pharmacist, and make sure you have a medicine review every year.

7 Poor eyesight and hearing - both of these can affect your balance. Make sure you have your eyes tested each year - it's free if you are over 60. If you have hearing problems, your GP or practice nurse will be able to help you.

8 Poor diet and not drinking enough. to keep your bones strong it is essential to have enough calcium in your diet - eating a healthy, balance and varied diet will help you keep your muscles strong, too. Visit the National Osteoporosis Society website ( and download their leaflet "Healthy Living for Strong Bones".

9 Footwear and clothes - make sure you are not wearing ill-fitting shoes or slippers, or long, flowing clothes, including dressing gowns, that may trip you up. Wearing shoes with a thin sole and low heel will help to reduce your risk from falling.

10 Trip hazards - loose mats, slippery floors, cluttered stairways can all contribute to you having a fall.

11 Bladder and bowel problems - if you need to get up in the night urgently or frequently puts you at risk. Millions of people experience this, and there can be an underlying cause that can be treated or improved by asking for professional help.

12 Too much alcohol - whatever age you are, drinking too much alcohol makes you unsteady on your feet as well as making you less alert.

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