Maintaining your balance and preventing falls

Walking and keeping moving can help you maintain good balance and prevent falls. There are specific exercises you can do within your daily routine that will help you improve your balance.

Simple strength and balance exercises twice a week are proven to keep you stronger for longer and help to maintain your independence.  You can  exercise in a group by joining a local class or you can exercise at home.  Always speak with your GP first if you are unsure if you should be exercising.

You can find details of local exercise classes in our directory of services.

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Exercises you can do yourself

Visit the NHS Live Well, exercise pages to find out about physical activity guidelines for adults and what type of exercises you may benefit from.  There are also details of balance exercises that you can try yourself.

Activities for older people in South Gloucestershire

One You South Gloucestershire is a healthy lifestyles and wellbeing service that can help you make important, lasting improvements to your health.

You can find information on local walking groups, running groups and activities for older people or choose from a range of resources to help you become more active.

Things you can do to reduce your risk of falling 

Falling can be a common problem for people as they get older,  but falls are not an inevitable consequence of old age and there are many things you can do to reduce your risk of falling.

  •    Maintaining a healthy diet

           You can help to keep your bones strong by eating a diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D.  You can find out more information and get advice on healthy eating on the Age UK website.

  • Ensure your home is safe

           Try to remove clutter and other trip hazards such as rugs and trailing wires. Try to ensure that there’s enough light to see, especially if you get up at night.

  • Look after your feet

           It’s also important that you look after your feet. It sounds simple, but wearing well fitted shoes and slippers and regularly cutting nails can help to reduce your risk of falls. You can find more information on the Age UK website.

  • Talk to your GP

           If you’ve had a fall it’s important that you talk to your GP about it and they will be able carry out some simple checks. For example, certain medicines can make you feel faint and affect your balance. If you take several medicines you should ask your GP or Pharmacist to review them and the dosage regularly.     

  • Have regular eye and hearing tests

          You should get your eyes checked and your glasses prescription reviewed as often as your optician advises, and at least every two years. NHS eye tests are free if you’re over 60. If you have problems with your hearing, don’t delay going to your GP for a check-up.

If you have had a fall.

Advice on What to do if you have a fall is available on the NHS website

Further help following a fall is available here

Outdoor mobility aids

There are walking aids and wheelchairs that can help you feel safer when you are out and about, they can offer support to keep your balance, make you feel more confident and keep you safe. 

If you want to buy your own walking aids or wheelchair the Disabled Living Foundation factsheets can offer helpful advice. 

You can use the ‘Search for information and services’ at the top of this page to find your local mobility shop who can assist you to choose the right equipment for you.

If it is unsafe for you to walk outdoors and you need to use a wheelchair daily, your GP or Physiotherapist can refer you to the wheelchair and special seating service.

If you need a short-term loan of a walking aid or wheelchair, or you do not meet the wheelchair service criteria, you can contact your local Red Cross who may be able to help to borrow a mobility aid to see if it meets your needs. 

Support from community health services

Sirona care and health provide community health services within South Gloucestershire. They can offer specialist advice and equipment to help you improve your balance and strength.  For further information on accessing these services speak to your GP surgery or health care professional. They can make the referral to the correct service on your behalf. 

You can also ask your GP or health care professional to refer you to the Single Point of Access (SPA) on 0300 125 6565. They can advise you on which services are most appropriate for your needs and how you can access them.