Most of us will have experienced a fall at some point. Having a fall will be nothing more than a bit embarrassing for many, however, a fall can be startling, upsetting and life changing, especially as we get older.
Falls and older people
Falls aren't an inevitable part of getting older, but can become more common and be harder to recover from.
If you, or someone you know, has fallen, you’re not alone:
- 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 experiences a fall at least once a year
- in Scotland, more than 18,000 older people are admitted to hospital after a fall each year
- falls are the most common reason for an ambulance being called to an older person
Causes of falls
Most falls among older people are caused by an interaction of a number of risk factors, with personal risk factors – such as weak muscles, poor balance and walking difficulties – commonly playing a part. Left unmanaged, these can significantly increase your risk of falling.
Falls can also be caused by new, and often temporary, health conditions, including:
For this reason, you should always speak to your GP practice, or another health professional – such as a physiotherapist or occupational therapist, if you've had a fall.
More about personal risk factors and falls
Falls prevention is about identifying and managing the risks related to your health, wellbeing and environment. This includes:
Reducing the impact of a fall
Injuries from falls are very common – there are around 6,000 broken hips in Scotland each year, most of which are caused by a fall. There are, however, things you can do to reduce the harm caused by a fall, including:
Find out how a falls plan can help to reduce the impact of a fall
After a fall
A fall can leave you feeling shaken up and can cause you to become less active and more cautious and withdrawn. You might stop doing things you enjoy, lose confidence in your abilities or feel anxious and on edge.
If you've had a fall, talk to your GP practice, or another health professional – such as a physiotherapist or occupational therapist – even if you're not hurt. Many underlying causes of falls can be treated or corrected.
Find out when and where to get help and support