Accidents happen; we all know that. What is less known, and tragic, is that each year more elderly people are hospitalised as the result of a fall than due to a stroke, dementia or disease.

Falls can happen to anyone, regardless of a person’s age, fitness, health or mobility. The good news is that simple, preventative measures and adjustments that anyone can do will substantially reduce the risk and improve your safety to avoid a fall.

The first thing you should do is to have a look around your home.

• Check every room and thoroughfare in your home and outdoor spaces

• Use a night light to help when getting out of bed in the dark,

• Remove clutter, rugs and any old furniture that has become unsteady or wobbly

Think about your lifestyle, too. Did you love gardening in your 50s? Can you manage your garden in your 70s and 80s? Can you limit the amount of weeding, mowing or pruning you do? Can you find a tradesperson to do the jobs that require climbing ladders?

Try to have safer habits, too. So, wear shoes with good grip. Slow down and take a bit more time and care when moving, especially getting out of bed; use supports (like a walking stick or hand rail); get your vision tested regularly and ask your doctor about any side effects of medications (drowsiness, dizziness, blood pressure drops)

Of course, prevention is the best way to avoid a nasty fall and stay safe. By following these simple, common sense measures you can make a real difference; keeping you on your feet and giving you confidence and peace of mind.

Sue Buckle is a Registered Nurse and Director of Just Better Care Hills District. 02 9484 8788

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