The rate of head injuries from falls by older Australians has nearly doubled in the decade to 2016-17, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). Its research shows that about 125,000 people aged 65 and over were seriously injured due to a fall in 2016–17 with injuries to the head hip and thigh the most common.

As many as 15% of falls were from household objects such as beds, chairs, steps or ladders. However most falls, about 34% were from the same level and due to slipping, tripping or stumbling – which means it’s very worthwhile to do a falls prevention check on your home, as well as balance-strengthening exercises.

‘Don’t fall for it’, an Australian government booklet, is a good guide to falls prevention. It offers a section on checking homes for trip and slip hazards including clutter, cords, uneven floorcovering, slippery paths, bad lighting or glare… This resource also covers ‘Fall-proofing yourself’ starting with footwear, and looking at the best exercises for strengthening balance, eyesight and relevant health issues. See the complete falls prevention guide here

‘Respond’, a University of Western Australia project in which older Australians took part in a phone-based falls prevention program after returning home from hospital proved falls prevention guidance does work. The program involved a home-based risk assessment, six months of phone-based education, coaching, goal-setting, and support in managing risk factors, as well as links to existing services. WA Uni’s Professor Leon Flicker said the main goal of the program was to comprehensively respond to the first fall so as to prevent a second fall.

If you need help to make some changes to help prevent falls, our gardening and home maintenance teams can fit rails, install ramps and clear or clean mossy paths. See more on Home Modifications and Maintenance Services at https://www.sydneycs.org/services-for-seniors/home-maintenance-and-modifications/

and Gardening Services at https://www.sydneycs.org/services-for-seniors/gardening/

or call the teams’ manager on 9427 6425.