Age Concern Tauranga would like to acknowledge ACC’s support and commitment to our members by providing the editorial content and development of these pages.
Many people over the age of 55 are concerned about losing their independence following a fall. But it's not something that 'just happens' as you get older. Many falls can be prevented. That means you can take positive steps to protect yourself and ensure you continue to enjoy an active, fulfilling life.
Preventing falls is one of the most important things you can do to maintain your independence. There are aspects of your health and how you behave – as well as things in your surroundings – that you can change to reduce your chances of falling.
Some people, especially those who have experienced a serious fall, can worry so much about falling they restrict their activity. They gradually do less activity, which can actually increase their risk of falling.
The message is: don’t give in to it. The more you do, the more you can do to help keep you on your feet, the following simple steps are outlined in full in ACC's brochure "Standing up to falls" in the attached PDF.
Your health and well-being that can contribute to your likelihood of falling and it’s a fact that our faculties and physical abilities deteriorate a little as part of the ageing process.
Usually, the changes happen slowly, so we don’t always notice them at first – but that doesn’t mean we have to give in to them
If you are over 65 you have a one in three chance of falling this year.
You may have a specific medical condition that increases your risk of falling. This could be caused by symptoms that accompany the condition – like dizziness from low blood pressure – or even side effects from the medication itself.
Health problems may affect your:
Discuss this with your doctor/health professional.
Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do to help stand up to falls. That’s because weak leg muscles and poor balance increase your risk of falling. You are likely to walk less if you feel unsteady on your feet, and that leads to weaker muscles and stiffer joints. If this sounds like you, it’s time to get active! Regular exercise provides you with a whole range of benefits, it can:
We can never take our eyesight for granted. Our eyes help us see obstacles, judge distances and keep our balance. As we get older, we take longer to adjust to sudden changes in light, are more sensitive to glare and less able to judge distances and depth accurately, for more information click to see how you can look after yourself.
By the age of 65, we need three times the amount of light to see than we did at 20
Keeping yourself mobile is very important in avoiding falls. As we age, our feet can change shape and lose some feeling. Painful, swollen feet or badly fitting shoes can make walking difficult and affect our balance.
If you are over 80, you have a 50% chance of falling this year
Everyone's home is different, so it pays to be aware of your surroundings and things that could make your home unsafe.
View the PDF "How safe is your home?" for more information.
View the PDF "Standing up to falls" for more information and advice on:-
These tips are just some ideas for preventing falls. You can find out more by calling 0800 844 657 visiting www.acc.co.nz or by contacting your health professional.
This information has been developed by the Accident Compensation Corporation of New Zealand.
ACC would like to acknowledge the assistance of the Australian Department of Health and Ageing in the development of this content.