Information about Slips, Trips, and Falls

Go back home

What is a slip, trip, or fall?

Are you worried about losing your balance? Maybe you’re nervous because you’ve had a trip or fall already, or maybe the thought of losing balance is playing on your mind. It might be that as you get older you start to feel unsteady on your feet, you slow down a little or there are changes to your health.

If you’re worried about having a trip or fall or you’ve already had one, it’s common to feel quite shaken, to become cautious, limit what you’re willing to do, and lose confidence. These worries aren’t unusual, but they can make you anxious, isolated or stop you doing the things you used to do.

If you’re feeling like this, you might be reluctant to ask for help, even if your fear stops you wanting to go out on your own or do things around the house. It can be difficult to admit things you used to be able to do are getting trickier and you might worry that if you accept help it will reduce your independence. But it’s important to ask for help if you feel you need it.

A woman helps an older man that has fallen on the floor.

Why can they be a problem?

When we look at slips, trips and falls, we place them on a continuum, ranging from a simple trip ("fit fallers") to a severe fall ("frail fallers"). They occur within the community and within the hospital setting; and can affect all age groups, and genders.

Illustration of a meter displaying a range from 'Fit faller' to 'Frequent faller' to 'Frail faller'

Falls are one of the biggest costs to the NHS and social care. As well as the financial burden, a slip, trip or fall can also have an enormous impact on a person’s quality of life; impacting their confidence and independence, which can cause knock on repercussions for family and friends.

What can cause you to lose balance and how to prevent this

Even though slips, trips and falls can become a concern as we get older, they aren’t inevitable and there’s a lot you can do to reduce the chance of having one, even if you’ve had one in the past. We are going to explain ways you can reduce your risk, by looking after your health, and the practical things you can do to make sure your home is a safe environment. By making some of the changes suggested, you can make your day-to-day life easier and stay independent for longer.

Causes of slips, trips and falls

External

Factors out with the body e.g., environmental and home hazards, medication

Internal

Factors within the body e.g., muscle weakness, loss of balance, impaired vision, cognitive impairment


A combination of both

Prevention of slips, trips and falls

General health
Eyesight
Moving more
Physical activity
Around the home
Environment

What to do if you have a fall to the floor or at are risk of having one

If you've had a simple slip or trip, use the advice above to help prevent this from happening.

Post falls plan

  • If you’ve had a previous fall, at risk of falling or have a fear of falling, having a falls plan in place can be helpful for not only you, but also gives reassurance for those who love you.

How to get up from a fall

  • Knowing how to get up from a fall, and practicing this can be really helpful.

Videos

Anyone can fall, and every fall is different. Watch these short films to find out what to do if you fall, or if you’re helping someone who has fallen.

Image of a woman standing on the stairs inside her house, smiling whilst holding the railing next to her.
HAVA Close
× HAVA - Healthy Ageing Virtual Assistant

Please wait…

Here's the details you wanted

Help with this page
Complete and submit the form below for support with this website
 

(View Terms Of Use and Privacy Policy).

Send Feedback