Advice on preventing falls in older people

Cork Emergency Departments

You have presented to the Emergency Department following a fall. We would like to help you understand more about falls, how they are caused and the way falls can be prevented. A fall can cause loss of confidence and independence and may increase the risk of another fall. However falling is not an inevitable part of ageing and there are things you can do to reduce your risk of falling and increase the control you have over your life.

The causes of falls

Falls are a common cause of injury for the population as a whole, however the chance of falling increases with age especially for people over the age of 80 years. The majority of falls for older people occur in and around the home.

Falls can be caused by:

  • Certain health conditions
  • Changes in eyesight or eye disorders
  • Problems with balance or walking patterns
  • Low levels of physical activity
  • Certain medications
  • Hazards in the home or community

Falls may be caused by one or more of these things. By looking closely at your health, lifestyle and environment you can prevent further falls and remain active and independent. Print version LARGE TEXT print version

Preventing falls

Talk with your GP

Check your medications

Check your vision

Be active

Talk to your general practitioner before commencing exercise. If you have problems walking, standing or balancing you may need to see a physiotherapist who can develop a physical activity program to suit you. There are also a number of community-based exercise programs that can improve your walking, strength and balance. Tai Chi is particularly effective and can be a great way to slowly increase your activity.Print version LARGE TEXT print version

See a podiatrist

Create a safe environment

An occupational therapist can abvise you about changes, aids or equipment which can be provided to make you safer in your home and enhance your lifestyle.

Further Advice or Assistance

We suggest that you visit your general practitioner when you have returned home from the Emergency Department. Depending on your needs, your doctor may suggest a visit to an allied health professional such as an occupational therapist, physiotherapist and / or podiatrist. You will find allied health professionals working at your local community health centre (see white pages) and a referral from your doctor is not necessary. By discussing the circumstances of your fall and investigating the ways to reduce your risk of falling, you will increase your independence and control over your life.Print version LARGE TEXT print version

If you are concerned, please contact the Emergency Department you first attended:

Mercy Injury Unit, Gurranabraher (021)4926900

LIU Mallow(022)58506

LIU Bantry(027)52900

Content by Dr Íomhar O' Sullivan (Modified from work by Dr David Eddie) 04/01/2006. Reviewed by Dr ÍOS 08/04/2007. Next review 08/04/2008.