West Berkshire Council

Falls Prevention

Practical advice and guidance to prevent falls in your home

From the age of 50, we start to lose muscle and bone strength and balance and one in three people aged 65 and over, fall each year. Therefore it is important that we're aware of the different things that can cause falls in and outside the home and what we can do to keep fit and healthy.

Falls prevention awareness is for everyone, at every age.

Quick tips to avoid falls around your home

Most falls occur in or around the home and there are a number of things you can do to reduce the risk of falling. We've listed a few below, but you can see more information in the Get Up and Go: A Guide to Staying Steady booklet, or you can watch a video of staying steady exercises.  If you would like a hard copy of this booklet, please contact the Public Health and Wellbeing Team.

  • Keep your floors and stairs clear from clutter
  • If rugs are frayed it's better to remove them, but if not, get them stuck down so they reduce slipping under you; re-arrange any cables that are in the way
  • Organise your home so that climbing, stretching and bending for things is minimised
  • Make sure areas are well lit, particularly stairs, so you can see well
  • Carry a personal alarm or mobile phone with you at all times, making sure it is turned on
  • Consider having assistive technology in your home including stair lifts, rails and frames
  • Ask someone to help you with things that you might not be able to do safely yourself, like getting something from a high shelf
  • Make sure shoes and slippers fit well and have good grip
  • In colder weather, have regular hot drinks, keep the temperature at at least 18º, and take extra care in wet and slippery conditions - visit our preparing for winter webpage for further information
  • Check if you're eligible for a Home Fire Safety Check from the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service

Watch the following video from Age UK about preventing falls in your own home.

It's a good idea to practise getting up from a fall, so you feel confident if and when you need to. Watch the video from RoSPA below for advice on practising.

Staying fit and healthy

Staying fit and healthy can reduce your risk of having a fall. There are other factors that can contribute to having a fall, consider:

  • Your vision - it plays an important role in your sense of balance, so make sure you visit the opticians regularly
  • Your medicines - some medicines have side effects that can make you feel faint or unsteady; talk to your GP if you ever feel like this
  • Your feet - have a major effect on your balance and stability; trim toenails regularly or hire a footcare service
  • Your diet - it's important to make sure that you eat well and stay hydrated, the NHS Choices website has more information and advice about making sure you have a good diet
  • Our pdf icon Guide to Keeping Healthy and Happy [3Mb] provides more advice about preventing problems with your health developing and what to do if problems do occur.

Try to avoid being sedentary at home by walking around during TV adverts and keeping your joints moving. Regular exercise can help prevent you having a fall. Our Activity for Health programme includes a "Steady Steps" class that can help improve confidence, balance, co-ordination and strength.

Get Berkshire Active runs an Ever Active 8 week course, which offers individuals the opportunity to take part in different sports or activities each week. Find out more online about the Ever Active course. They also provide try-at-home kits, if you are unable to leave your home.

We also provide details of available activities and sports throughout West Berkshire on our Physical Activity page.

You can visit the NHS Choices website for more advice and guidance about how much physical activity adults aged 65 and over need to keep healthy, and you can also use their interactive tool, which shows different types of exercises to improve flexibility, strength and balance.

What do we know about falls in West Berkshire?

The falls and mobility section of our JSNA contains the most up-to-date information for West Berkshire, including data on the causes of falls, the estimated number of falls and the number of injuries caused by falls.

Falls prevention is a priority within the pdf icon West Berkshire Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy [2Mb], and we are aiming to maximise independence in older people by preventing falls and improving rehabilitation services.

The following advice is for professionals: the National Institution for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides guidance for assessing the risks and prevention for falls in older people.

Who To Contact

Contact details for West Berkshire's Public Health and Wellbeing Team

01635 519973