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We all experience a bit of wear and tear but there’s usually nothing to worry about.  However, as we age our risk of falling increases, and with it the risk of serious injury. Indeed, in the UK 1 in 3 people over 65 years will fall at least once a year. Many of these will be falls at home.

Fortunately, falls don’t need to be a natural consequence of ageing. Understanding the main causes of a fall helps to guard against them. These are the five most common causes of falls at home.

Tidy Up Potential Hazards

Everyday bits and bobs can be dangerous if left in the wrong place.

  • Coffee tables, pot plants, electric cables or anything sitting on the floor can catch your feet.
  • Uneven flooring, loose bits of carpet or thick rugs are easy to trip up on.
  • Slippery surfaces may be lurking – water on the bathroom floor, grease spills in the kitchen or polish on wooden floorboards for example.
  • Wobbly handrails on the stairs should be fixed immediately.

Tidy away possessions in cupboards or on shelves, and ensure there’s space to walk about without having to dodge round furniture or objects. This is the biggest cause of falls at home.

Improve the Lighting

Poor lighting conceals all sorts of trip hazards. As we grow older this problem worsens, as age affects our ability to see clearly in low light. Fix the problem by using brighter light bulbs and adding extra lights such as floor or table lamps.

Make sure lighting is easily accessible, for example, a lamp on your bedside table is safer than fumbling across a dark room to the light switch. You could also leave a nightlight on in the hallway or bathroom, and always turn the light on when using the stairs.

Review Your Footwear

Worn-out or poorly fitting footwear is a major cause of falls. If your feet and ankles aren’t properly cushioned and supported it’s far too easy to trip up, even if there’s nothing on the floor.

This applies to outdoor shoes and slippers when you’re at home. Don’t be tempted to wander about in socks or bare feet even in warmer weather. Lack of support and the potential to slip and slide is bound to lead to accidents.

Take Note of Warning Signs

There may be signs that your ability to walk or balance properly is compromised. If you feel a little unsteady, even on flat surfaces it’s wise to check with your doctor in the first instance.

Some medications can cause dizziness – blood pressure medicine for example – and this applies to prescription and off-the-shelf drugs. There are often alternative medicines that work just as well for your condition and your doctor will be able to adjust things accordingly.

Your eyesight can be another reason for feeling wobbly. Unfortunately, our eyes aren’t as sharp as we get older, but it could be that glasses will solve the problem. If you already wear glasses, you may need to update your prescription. The wrong glasses don’t just affect your vision – they can cause extreme dizziness and nausea, keep up to date with regular check-ups.

Stay Active

A sedentary lifestyle won’t do you any favours. Gentle exercise such as walking, tai chi, a stretching routine or some easy yoga all help to maintain muscle strength, joint flexibility, balance and coordination, and that’s good for your cardiovascular health as well (but always check with a healthcare professional before you start anything new).

Stay Upright and Healthy at Feet By Pody

For trustworthy advice on foot health, footwear, exercise and general maintenance from the knees down talk to our experienced podiatrists.

Contact Feet By Pody today.