You don't have to be old to be at risk of falling - we have seen many models falling on the catwalk. However falls in older people can have life changing consequences
and older people are most likely to suffer serious injuries, disability, psychological consequences and death following a fall.
The risk of falling increases with age - one in three older people fall every year and two-thirds of them fall again within six months.
Falls and fractures in older people can be prevented.
The purpose of Falls Awareness Day 2012 is to highlight to everyone what can be done to prevent falls as we age.
Visit our information stand in St James's Hospital, Dublin on Thursday 4th October 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Find out more >>
Falls Awareness Day 2012 is an initiative of the TRIL Centre with support from Get Ireland Active.
- Preventing Falls and Trips
- News articles on Falls Awareness & Prevention
- Information for Clinicians
- Falls Prevention Research
Did you know...
- The risk of falling increases with age. One third of adults over the age of 65 fall each year and two third of those fall again within 6 months1.
- Today Ireland has 480,000 (11%) people over the age of 65, which will increase to one million (18%) in 25 years time1.
- Every year 10% of all older people need treatment following an injury. Falls cause 75% of these injuries1.
- By 2032 there could be a doubling in the number of falls and fractures that occur if today's rates do not improve.
- The consequences of falling can range from mild to very severe and may be physical and/or psychological or social in nature.
- Physical consequences of falling include: injury, fracture (hip, arm, skull) , risk of subsequent falls, loss of mobility, accidents, self-neglect, and physical illness, traumatic brain injury and death.
- Psychological and social consequences of falling include: fear of falling, depression, anxiety, isolation, impaired quality of life, loss of independence and institutionalisation.
- Falls and fractures in older people can be prevented.
1Health Service Executive, Ireland. Strategy to Prevent Falls and Fractures in Ireland's Ageing Population. June, 2008.
Falls can be prevented!
Keep active. Exercise can help your balance & strength.
- Adults over 65 should do at least 30 minutes of exercise five times a week.
- Wear comfortable clothing and good fitting sturdy shoes.
- When exercising your breathing should feel faster, you should feel warm and experience light perspiration. You should be able to carry out a conversation, but not be able to sing!
- Start with exercises you feel comfortable with such as walking. You can slowly increase the distance you walk.
- Ask your doctor if you are unsure what activities or exercises are best for you.
Have your vision checked
Your eyesight changes as you get older. Poor vision can increase your chances of falling. Make sure you get your eye-sight checked on a regular basis.
Fall prevention - in each room
- Arrange furniture so that you can easily move around all your rooms;
- Keep the floors clear from papers and books etc. that could cause you to trip;
- Remove rugs or use non-slip tape or backing so rugs will not slip;
- Make sure wires or cords from lamps, telephones etc. do not trail where you walk.
Stairs and Steps
- Fix loose or uneven steps;
- Do not leave shoes or books on steps of stairs;
- Have a light switch fitted at the top and bottom of the stairs. As you get older you need brighter lights to see well;
- Install hand rails on both sides of the stairs; making sure they reach the top.
Extracted from the leaflet prepared as part of the HSE's Keep well this Winter information campaign. More details.
Other useful links
If you are concerned about falls - contact your GP or other healthcare professional - remember falls are preventable
- How to Help Your Older Loved Ones Prevent Falls, Care2, September 2012
- Standing together to prevent falls, The Smithville Herald, September 2012
- T'ai chi helps prevent falls in elderly, Science Daily, May 2011
- Sleeping tablet a nightmare for falls?, Aged Care INsite, April 2011
- New Advice on Preventing Falls, New York Times, February 2011
- Aging in place denied by falls, aginginplace.com, February 2011
- Thousands of elderly injured in falls, Irish Health, November 2010
- Watch the Walk and Prevent a Fall, New York Times, November 2009