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A lot of people worry about falling as they get older. Falls don’t just affect our physical health. They can be distressing, knock our confidence, and make us fearful of going out and doing daily activities.

A 2019 Age UK survey found that millions of older people are worried about falling over, so you are not alone.

Falls are more common as people get older, especially if they have a long-term health condition. Unfortunately, the consequences of a fall are often more serious for older people, affecting their health and wellbeing. Falls are often a cause of preventable hip fracture.

According to the NHS around one in three adults over 65, and half of people over 80, will have a fall each year.

When prevention services might be needed

Have a think about these three questions:

  1. Have you fallen in the past year? If yes, how many falls have you had?
  2. Do you have any problems with your balance?
  3. Do you have a fear of falling or loss of confidence?

If you answered yes to any of these, for you or a person you know, you might benefit from falls prevention services available in the borough.

Why we fall

There are a lot of reasons why people fall, but some of the most common are:

  • Having a health or long-term condition that affects balance or leads to dizziness. For example, heart disease, dementia, low blood pressure
  • Having balance problems or muscle weakness
  • Not eating or drinking enough, leading to dizziness or weakness
  • Problems with eyesight or vision

Factors that can increase your risk 

A number of things can increase your risk of a fall, including:

  • Your surroundings - the physical environment at home or outside. For example wet floors, loose rugs, long or trailing curtains or bed clothes, and uneven paving
  • Cluttered floor space from furniture, trailing leads or plugs
  • Reaching or climbing for things which are too far or high. For example high cupboards or climbing ladders
  • Poor lighting
  • Poor fitting shoes and problems walking, including wearing loose shoes or slippers
  • Physical well-being and strength. For example, ability to walk, shuffling when walking, and frailty
  • Rushing, to reach the toilet for example

Although people worry about falling when they go out, most falls happen at home. 

How to reduce your risk

Falling as we get older is not inevitable. There are some simple things you can do to reduce your risk of falling, including:

  • Just being aware of your surroundings and where you place your feet can really help
  • Eat and drink regularly throughout the day
  • Get your eyes checked regularly
  • Understand the side effects of your medicines and request regular medicine reviews with your GP or pharmacist
  • Get regular blood pressure checks
  • Spot the risks around you – at home and outside 
  • Regular exercise – keeping your body active helps with balance and posture, strengthens muscles, and supports good physical and mental health

Services and activities in Richmond

Richmond has lots of information and services to help you stay strong, healthy and active. You can meet new people and increase your confidence in a safe space. Speak to your GP or social prescriber about a self referral for falls prevention or find out more at:

Mobility issues

Sometimes people who are at risk of falls also have mobility problems. If this is the case for you, or someone you know, you can find further information about mobility support and your options.

Around your home

Age UK Richmond also offer a handyperson service to help you live independently and safely at home. As most falls happen at home, they can help you make small changes to reduce your risk.

Getting more help

If you need more help you could arrange to see a specialist physiotherapist. You might want to do this if you feel you need more support, are worried about you or someone you know falling, or you have had a fall. 

Find out more about the falls and bone health service in Richmond or speak to your GP about a self referral.

Neurological conditions

If you have a neurological condition, like Parkinson’s or MS for example, then Integrated Neurological Services can help you stay active and manage your condition as well as give advice and information on falls.

Further information

More information is available on falls, including why falls are more common as we get older and what you can do to reduce your risk and stay active. You can visit:


Updated: 14 September 2023

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