Preventing falls

A couple walking along a country path, using walking poles.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that falls are a part of ageing- something that ‘just happens’ as you get older. Most people do. But, whilst there are many reasons that make falls more likely as we age, there are also many different things we can do to prevent them.

Exercise is one of the most effective ways to maintain independence and ensure we stay steady on our feet. Anything that challenges our balance and improves muscle strength, particularly in our legs, can help to reduce falls. Walking, gardening, Tai Chi and dancing are great examples, or if you need more assistance, you can ask your GP or local council about strength and balance classes in your area.


Age Scotland has worked with NHS Health Scotland and the National Osteoporosis Society to produce Up and About: Taking positive steps to avoid trips and falls. It includes information and helpful advice to those most at risk of trips and falls.

opens link in new window Read or Download Up and About: Taking positive steps to avoid trips and falls

You can also try out some exercises at home using this exercise book, 'Strength and balance exercises for healthy ageing', from Age Scotland partner Age UK:

opens link in new window Download Strength and balance exercises for healthy ageing (PDF 699KB)

There are many other things to look out for which can also help to reduce the risk of falls, for example:

Having your eyes checked regularly

This will help to identify any difficulties you may be having with your glasses prescription or other vision problems that may be affecting your balance and co-ordination.

Looking after your feet

It sounds simple but wearing well fitted shoes and slippers can help to reduce your risk of falls by making sure you are able to feel contact with the floor. Report any problems with your feet to your GP or practice nurse.

Managing your medicines

Certain medicines can make you feel faint or affect your balance. Let your GP know if you ever feel like this after taking medicine or if you are taking several medicines, in case you no longer need them or the dose needs to be changed.

For more information on preventing falls and improving your strength and balance, download the Age UK Staying Steady guide:

opens link in new window Download the Staying steady guide (PDF 577KB)


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