Don't fall for it

Fall-proofing yourself

Page last updated: 06 May 2011

Reducing your Personal Risk Factors

Our bodies change constantly throughout our lives. Normal ageing involves:
  • Poorer eyesight - we may find we can’t see quite as clearly, are less able to judge distances and depth or can’t cope with sudden changes in light levels or glare.
  • Worse balance, weaker muscles and stiffer joints, which change the way we walk and move around.
  • Less feeling in the feet and legs, increased likelihood of pain and even changes to the shape and flexibility of our feet.
  • Slower reaction times and more difficulty concentrating on several things at the one time.
We often don’t notice these normal changes as they happen very slowly over the years.

For example, you may find it’s harder to get out of that lounge chair you’ve had for 20 years. The lounge chair hasn’t changed - you have! Your muscles have got a bit weaker and your joints a bit stiffer.

Or you may trip over a mat that has been in the same place for years. Maybe you are not lifting your feet as high when you walk, causing you to trip over the mat, or perhaps you can’t see the mat as clearly any more.

If you have fallen more than once in the past six months, you are more likely to fall again.

It is important to talk to your doctor about any falls you have. Don’t just dismiss them as ‘not concentrating’ or ‘clumsiness’. Falls can be a sign of a new medical problem, muscle weakness, balance problems, medication side effects or a combination of these and other problems.

It will help your doctor if you give him or her information about the time of day you fell, what you were doing and how you were feeling just before the fall. Your family may be able to fill in the details if you can’t remember.