Keeping mobile and preventing falls

There's a lot you can do to maintain your mobility and independence as you age. You can take steps to improve safety and prevent falls.

Most at risk

About one third of people over 65 fall each year, with higher rates for over 75s.

Up to 20 per cent of falls require medical attention. Falls make up half of the hospital admissions for accidental injury, especially hip fractures.

Half of the falls reported by older people follow a trip or an accident. Some 90 per cent of hip fractures are caused by a fall.

Around 50 per cent of falls are preventable.

Assessing your level of risk

There are things to look out for that can help you, your family or carers know whether you are at risk of having a fall. To find out what the risks are, you can ask for a falls risk assessment at your GP's surgery or at a specialist clinic.

The falls assessment aims to discover anything that might cause you to fall and highlights specific things that can be done to help.

Following the assessment, the doctor or nurse will prepare a plan for you to help reduce your risk of falling in future.

You should ask your GP for more information if you think you need an assessment.

Health and social care assessments in your local area

The health and social care trust in your area can tell you more about health and social care assessments.

Make your home safer

There are changes you can make at home that will help you to prevent falls, like installing hand rails to keep you steady in the bathroom or out in the garden.

Some trusts offer a 24-hour community alarm service. The service provides help and reassurance in an emergency to people who are elderly and at risk of falls. You can keep your alarm with you at all times as a pendant around your neck or on your wrist.

If you fall you press the button on the pendant to activate a separate alarm unit. This alarm unit has a powerful microphone and loud speaker, letting you talk to a member of staff who will get help.

You might also consider the option of sheltered housing, where you maintain your independence but have background support when you need it.

Keeping yourself steady

To stay firmly on your feet, a few simple changes - like making sure stairs are kept clear and well lit - can make all the difference and keep you mobile.

You will benefit if you:

  • maintain healthy feet
  • regularly review your medication
  • have regular eyesight tests
  • pay attention to home safety
  • enjoy a healthy diet and reduce the risk of osteoporosis

Exercise

Exercise is one of the best ways to prevent falls, as well as making you more confident and able to enjoy life.

Safe and steady video

Watch the following video to learn more about measures you can take at home to prevent falls.

What to do if you have a fall

Try not to panic, but get help by making a noise like banging or shouting, using your personal alarm or dialling 999.

  • make sure you keep warm, even just by tensing your arm and leg muscles
  • wrap yourself with anything warm to hand

Afterwards, it's important to tell your doctor what's happened - that way you can receive effective help.

More useful links

Share this page

What do you want to do?
What is your question about?
Do you want a reply?
Your email address
To reply to you, we need your email address
Your feedback

We will not reply to your feedback.  Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

This feedback form is for issues with the nidirect website only.

You can use it to report a problem or suggest an improvement to a webpage.

If you have a question about a government service or policy, you should contact the relevant government organisation directly as we don’t have access to information about you held by government departments.

You must be aged 13 years or older - if you’re younger, ask someone with parental responsibility to send the feedback for you.

The nidirect privacy notice applies to any information you send on this feedback form.

Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.
Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.

What to do next

Comments or queries about angling can be emailed to anglingcorrespondence@daera-ni.gov.uk 

What to do next

If you have a comment or query about benefits, you will need to contact the government department or agency which handles that benefit.  Contacts for common benefits are listed below.

Carer's Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912
Email 
dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Discretionary support / Short-term benefit advance

Call 0800 587 2750 
Email 
customerservice.unit@communities-ni.gov.uk

Disability Living Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912 
Email dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Employment and Support Allowance

Call 0800 587 1377

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Contact your local Jobs & Benefits office

Personal Independence Payment

Call 0800 587 0932

If your query is about another benefit, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

Comments or queries about the Blue Badge scheme can be emailed to bluebadges@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk or you can also call 0300 200 7818.

What to do next

For queries or advice about careers, contact the Careers Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Child Maintenance, contact the Child Maintenance Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about claiming compensation due to a road problem, contact DFI Roads claim unit.

What to do next

For queries or advice about criminal record checks, email ani@accessni.gov.uk

What to do next

Application and payment queries can be emailed to ema_ni@slc.co.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about employment rights, contact the Labour Relations Agency.

What to do next

For queries or advice about birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates and research, contact the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) by email gro_nisra@finance-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries about:

If your query is about another topic, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

For queries or advice about passports, contact HM Passport Office.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), including parking tickets and bus lane PCNs, email dcu@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about pensions, contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

What to do next

If you wish to report a problem with a road or street you can do so online in this section.

If you wish to check on a problem or fault you have already reported, contact DfI Roads.

What to do next

For queries or advice about historical, social or cultural records relating to Northern Ireland, use the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) enquiry service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about rates, email LPSCustomerTeam@lpsni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about  60+ and Senior Citizen SmartPasses (which can be used to get concessionary travel on public transport), contact Smartpass - Translink.