There are simple things you can do to be safer at home and prevent a trip to hospital, says Amanda Bennett from our REACT team.
Take regular pain relief
Many patients battle on without regular pain relief. Basic medication like paracetamol stops pain escalating if taken at regular intervals, and may help you manage without needing more help.
A quarter of people over 55 say they do not drink any water during the day, according to research. This has a knock-on effect on all bodily systems. If you are an older person, dehydration can lead to urine infections, confusion and falls – and can damage your kidneys.
Make sure your shoes fit
Something as simple as badly fitting footwear can cause falls. As you age, mobility and agility changes, along with the way you walk. You might find it harder to pick up your feet. Be aware of changes in your stride, and adapt. Get comfortable footwear that helps you walk safely. If you have swollen feet, consider finding shoes and slippers with velcro fastenings.
Wear your personal alarm
If you have one, wear it – and don’t be afraid to press it! Lying down for a long time after a fall can lead to other complications. Make sure it’s always within reach.
Did you know that 1 or 2 people in every 100 have a problem with hoarding? Clutter can make it hard to get around, keep things clean and make repairs. Keep doors, stairs and halls clear to reduce the risk of falls – and so you can be reached in an emergency. Remove unnecessary rugs and watch out for hanging bedding.
Tackle clutter in stages so it doesn’t feel overwhelming. Prioritise your most valued things and get help if you need it.
Don’t wait until you are nearly out of medications before re-ordering. A delay might mean you need medical help. If you have a lung condition, keep a supply of inhalers in case you have a sudden flare-up. Don’t over-stock, though, as medications can’t be re-used once they are dispensed.
Get support if you’re lonely
Loneliness affects a fifth of the UK population, and it’s linked to dementia, heart disease, depression and more.
wellaware.org.uk has local groups to join or you can volunteer at do-it.org. If you’re an older person, contact U3A at u3a.org.uk; Community Navigators Bristol at communitynavigators.org.uk;
or the Silverline support line on 0800 4 70 80 90.
Age UK has advice on falls, footcare and wellbeing: ageuk.org.uk/information-advice