Reducing your risk of falling

Many people with osteoporosis break bones as a result of a fall, so it is important to do all you can to remain steady on your feet now, and in the future.

Although falling is common in older age and may seem like something you can’t control, falls are not inevitable, and research has shown that ‘falls risk’ can be reduced.

If you have been falling, talk to your doctor or nurse as there may be specialist falls services in your local hospital that may be able to help.

Select an option below to find out more about how you can lower your risk of falling and remain confident, active and independent for longer.

Everyday changes to help lower your falls risk

Small changes to the way you live your everyday life can help to lower your risk of experiencing a fall.

  • If you have a medical condition that makes you feel unsteady or dizzy, talk to your doctor. Getting treatments for these will make you safer.
  • Some medications can cause unsteadiness. If you are taking a number of different tablets ask your doctor or pharmacist to review them.
  • Shoes and slippers that have a patterned tread are less slippery than smooth soles. Avoid loose, backless and high-heeled footwear, as these may increase your risk of a fall.
  • Avoid clothes that are long and trailing.
  • Keep your glasses clean and hearing aids well maintained.
  • If you enjoy an alcoholic drink, be aware it might make you unsteady and try to regulate your intake.

Staying steady around the home

Many falls happen in the home, but simple measures can help to reduce the risk of this happening and make you feel more confident.

Ensure floors and walkways are clear and safe. Check that wires and flexes are kept out of the way; move any mats so you can’t trip over them; check carpets are not loose of frayed, especially on the stairs; and use non-slip mats under rugs. It can also help to use high-wattage light bulbs, so that walkways are clearly illuminated.

Adapt your home by fitting handrails on the stairs and, if it helps, next to the toilet and by the bath. Fitting a cage over your letterbox will also remove the need to bend down to pick up letters from the floor. Keeping your home warm can also help your muscles continue to work efficiently.

A simple change of habits, such as turning the lights on at night if you need to go to the bathroom, or getting up slowly out of a chair of bed, in case you feel dizzy, can help to lower the risk of falls. So, too, can taking a bit of extra time to think and plan, such as by placing objects you regularly need close by, to save overreaching for them. By mopping up spills immediately, using a long-handled mop, you can reduce the risk of slipping.

Ask for help rather than attempting activities and chores that may result in a fall, such as changing lightbulbs and cleaning the windows.

Nutrition to reduce your risk of falling

Enjoy a well-balanced diet, to give your body the right amounts of protein, starchy foods, vitamins and minerals for energy and stronger muscles, to help reduce your risk of falling.

A healthy, balanced diet is also essential for good bone health.

More about diet for strong bones

Having low vitamin D levels may be a risk factor for falling. If you are over 65 and you don’t get enough vitamin D, talk to your doctor about whether you need a supplement.

More about vitamin D

Download the vitamin D supplements factsheet

In addition, it’s important to drink enough water - people who become dehydrated are at greater risk of falling. A good way to make sure you're well-hydrated is to ensure that your mouth is not dry, and your urine is straw-coloured instead of dark and concentrated.