Falls Awareness

Further Useful Information

Chris was invited to give a talk and demonstration about the health benefits of tai chi for the elderly for an Age UK’s ‘Falls Awareness Day’.

Whether you are looking for advice for yourself or guidance for your parents or relatives, Age UK have a host of services and classes available to inform and help keep fit and healthy and maintain independence into older age in your area. Age UK Barnet’s website

Services given by Age UK Barnet: Later Life Planning, Handyperson Service, Neighbourhood Services, Befriending, Learning for the Digital Age, Nail Cutting, Fitness & Exercise, Day Services, Ageing Well Health Promotion, and an Eat Well Programme of cookery classes and advice.

Age UK Barnet’s ‘Falls Awareness Day’ provided many useful hints and advice which we’d like to share:

If you are taking two to four or more different medication the risk of a fall is much higher than taking none. There are many different prescribed and over-the-counter drugs which may affect the body, which becomes more sensitive as it ages.

Postural Hypotension is the condition where there is a sudden drop in blood pressure that can lead to a fall or affect balance, it can be a side effect of many drugs, diuretics, heart medicines, pain killers, sleeping tablets, or drugs like anti-histamines or light sleeping medications, and even soluble pain killers which have a high sodium content and can lead to dehydration which is a common cause of a fall. So the advice is:
• Know why you are taking the medication
• Check the side effects carefully
• Have regular medical reviews of any drugs you are taking (once a year)
• Use the same pharmacy as they will know you and your prescription
• Don’t ever share medications
• Avoid alcohol if taking medication
• Be careful if taking blood-clotting drugs like Warfarin, as a fall can have serious consequences with internal bleeding
• Always tell your doctor if you have a fall
• Get up slowly in the mornings
• Constipation can be caused by dehydration, which can lead to falls

This information is taken from a talk given on behalf of Lloyd’s Pharmacy.

Falls in the Home and Prevention
The commonest cause of falls are in the home, suggestions are:
• Have good lighting around the house
• Have regular eye and hearing checks
• Remove rugs, worn carpets or objects to trip over
• Have regular foot care, important to avoid foot problems
• Wear sensible shoes, laces can be difficult because of bending over to tie them up
• Exercise regularly, tai chi is particularly good for helping with strength, balance, coordination and relaxation
• Get help when using a step ladder or other things around the house, such as Age UK Barnet’s Handy Person Scheme
• Get a falls risk assessment to check risk factors, so that individual issues of health, such as osteoporosis, or arthritis, poor memory and flexibility as well as environmental and the home issues can be considered. If you have had a fall your GP should be able to refer you to a Falls Prevention clinic.