Falls Assessment and Education Service
The Falls Assessment and Education Service aims to reduce the number of people falling or at risk of falling in Gloucestershire, through effective falls prevention information, education, assessment and intervention.
We have clinical specialist physiotherapists, each based in a different locality across the county. The physiotherapists provide specialist falls assessment with a focus on mobility, physical activity, balance and strength. This may be an outpatient appointment or may take place in your home.
Reducing the risk of falls
- Make sure you drink enough fluids (at least 6-8 mugs or glasses per day). If you are finding it difficult to get to the toilet in time, reduce the amount of drinks containing caffeine and fizzy drinks as they irritate the bladder.
- Eat a good, balanced diet.
- Ask for support to help cut down or stop drinking alcohol or smoking to reduce your risk of fractures. Contact Healthy lifestyles Gloucestershire on 0800 122 3788 or visit www.hlsglos.org.
- Keep active – aim for the recommended 30 minutes of moderate activity 5 times a week. Do some strengthening and balance exercises. Age UK Gloucestershire (01452 422660) can provide information on appropriate local exercise classes, or try your local leisure centre or see what’s on at the local hall.
- Try exercises – like these from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
- Avoid sitting for long periods. Get up and move around regularly
Get help from your GP
Speak to your GP if:
- you are having difficulties with your hearing
- you are concerned about your memory
- you have a fall
If you or the person you know is blacking out or collapsing rather than falling through a trip, slip or loss of balance please inform the GP so that appropriate medical assessments can be arranged.
Ask your GP or pharmacist to review your medication every 12 months or if you become dizzy, especially on standing. If it’s difficult to organise or remember your tablets, ask for them to arrive in a dosette box.
Making things safe at home
- Ensure your home is not cluttered – ask people to help you have a clear out if needs be, so you have clear walkways
- Make sure you wear good supportive footwear which covers your whole foot both indoors and out – avoid mules or slippery socks
- Make sure your home is well lit and warm enough. Think about a night light if appropriate
- Check any walking aids are appropriate and the rubber ferrules on the ends and / or the brakes are in good order
- Try and walk upright with good length steps
Other help you can get
- Ensure you have had an eye test within the last 12 months – if not, book one through the opticians. Some companies offer home visits.
- Look after your feet or ask someone to help – book a chiropodist if needed.
- Apply for attendance allowance if you don’t already receive benefits and are over 65, to help with any additional costs to maintain your independence. Ring 0800 731 0122 to request the forms.
- If you are worried about falling at home, ask the Adult Helpdesk (01452 426868) or Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue service (0800 180 4140) to arrange for an environmental / home hazards assessment or safe and well check.
- If daily activities around the house, or getting out, is difficult you can refer yourself via the Adult Helpdesk 01452 426868 for an occupational therapy or physiotherapy assessment
- Consider getting a pendant alarm to get help if you do fall and can’t get up – most local councils offer these for a small monthly rental cost.
How to stay Strong and Steady
Falls are not an inevitable part of growing older.
Many of us think that it’s just elderly people who are more vulnerable and likely to fall. We don’t realise that when we reach the age of 45 or 50, balance and muscle strength begins to decline – and most of us don’t even notice it! However, steps can be taken NOW to help prevent future falls and injury.
There are many things that you can do to keep yourself from falling, including exercises designed to improve muscle strength and balance.
If you or someone you care about has difficulty getting off the floor or out of a chair, feels unsafe moving around or are concerned about slips, trips or falling over, we can help. Contact: 0300 421 6241 or email us at: StrongandSteady@ghc.nhs.uk
For more information about reducing the risk of falls, complete this falls risk self-assessment falls prevention and self-management tool. It has been specifically designed and created to help prevent falls, keep people steady on their feet and stay as independent as possible.
It also enables older people, their carers and family members to assess their own falls risk, and then provides tailored advice that will give them a plan to reduce their future risk of falls and fractures. This resource has been developed by NHS 24’s Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare (SCTT) as part of the European SmartCare programme.
If you are interested in reducing your risk of falling, take a look at these helpful exercise videos and advice:
- Able Like Mable video from Active Gloucestershire Fall Proof | We Can Move
- Exercises from Royal Osteoporosis Society royal osteoporosis society uk exercise videos – Bing
- Age UK has developed the following guidance: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/health-wellbeing/exercise/falls-prevention/
Calling for help: If you are worried about how you can call for help if you do have a fall, visit: Local personal alarm system providers – Gloucestershire Telecare