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Health Topics - Falls and Injury Prevention Guide

A fall can happen at any age, but unfortunately more often the older you get.  Falls can happen as a result of a simple trip, but for older people there are often other factors such as loss of balance, poor vision, medication use, and leg muscle weakness involved in the equation. 

It is very important to discuss these issues with your GP and see them should you have a fall.  Having a fall certainly shakes you up and makes you very wary about having another fall. 

It can make a great dent in your confidence, and can leave you feeling very uncertain, and not wishing to get out and about as you once did.  Your GP can assess your balance and muscle strength and overall health and offer recommendations for you.  

The Falls and Injury Prevention Guide also offers suggestions to reduce the possibility of a fall or other injury, and to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  It includes where to go to for further information and assistance. 

We do suggest that you discuss any change with your health professional who can then refer you on to the appropriate service or health organisation, and ensure you employ a skilled tradesperson when installing any new product.

Falls and Injury Prevention Guide:


Alcohol and Drugs


Bowel Cancer
Carers Page




Elder Abuse

Falls Prevention

General Medical
Grief and Loss


Home Support

Intimacy and Sexuality

Living with Disability


Memory Loss and Dementia

Men’s Health



Physical Activity and Exercise
Skin Cancer


Smoke Free

Sun Smart


Women’s Health




MAINTAINING INDEPENDENCE Try some of the suggestions below to assist you with your day to day healthy lifestyle

Contact local support groups for information and advice on services available throughout your region.

Age Concern 

Citizen’s Advice Bureaux


REDUCE YOUR CHANCES OF A FALL Also try these simple measures at home to improve your safety
  • Remove or secure mats and rugs and tape loose cords out of the way or use a multi-plug
  • Keep busy traffic areas free of clutter
  • Try non-slip mats or surfaces in wet areas eg: shower or bath
  • Install grab rails to help you in shower or toilet
  • Wear non-slip well fitting shoes
  • Store often used items between eye level and hip level
  • Ensure plenty of lighting to see your way
  • Ensure you have an easy to reach telephone should you fall
  • Keep up-to-date emergency numbers by phone
  • Be aware of pets getting in the way
  • When outside, be aware of uneven pathways, cracks and cobbled or tiled areas, keep pathways clear
  • Get a Life Tube (from Age Concern) or try a personal alarm
Age Concern 

- Home Safe Home

- Positive Steps Programme

- Skills Bank

- Personal Alarm Information


LIGHTING YOUR WAY Install outside security lights

Use brighter light bulbs

Use a hallway ‘night light’

Have a torch next to your bed for nocturnal navigation

Highlight step edges in white paint, this can also have sand or other such material sprinkled on it to reduce slipperyness.

You can install yourself or contact your local Age Concern 


Muscle strengthening and weight-bearing exercises are helpful to reduce the chances of a fall and increase your balance.

Physical activity, even household chores can be beneficial

Join a walking group/swimming group

Try Line Dancing, Tai Chi, Seated Exercise

Gardening, relaxation techniques, yoga

Family activity


Many organisations have gardening, walking and exercise groups, contact Age Concern  

Sport New Zealand



Local swimming pool

Visit our Physical Activity and Exercise page

MAINTAIN JOINT MOBILITY Daily exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous to be beneficial for you.
  • Try walking, gardening,
  • Muscle strengthening and toning exercises
  • Tai chi
  • Yoga
Age Concern  

Arthritis Foundation 

Sport New Zealand

Fall Prevention Noticeboard

Circulation See your doctor if you have a skin tear/puncture or leg ulcer

Wear protective clothing and gloves if gardening

Take care of your feet especially if you are a diabetic, dry between toes and keep nails trimmed.  For safety you may wish to get your toenails done by a podiatrist.

Wear comfortable, non-slip shoes

Daily exercise and healthy eating and maintain a healthy weight

Try to stop smoking

See your doctor or local Community Health Service


Diabetes New Zealand 

Sports New Zealand


Quitline  0800 778 778

respiratory health Ensure you have the free annual flu vaccination

Try to maintain a healthy weight

Keep physically active, (see Physical Wellbeing)

Seek support from appropriate support group

Consider stopping smoking

Breathing exercises, Yoga

See your doctor

Asthma and Respiratory Foundation of New Zealand  or try the Health Navigator website 


Quitline 0800 778 778

REMAINING WELL See your doctor for an annual medical check up including hearing and vision, and women's and men's health checks

Ensure medication is regularly reviewed

A daily pill organiser may help you

Write down your medication regime and keep in a prominent place

Join relevant community groups for support and assistance

Alzheimers NZ  

Arthritis Foundation 

Diabetes New Zealand 

Blind Foundation

Hearing Association 

Parkinson’s Society 

Stroke Foundation

Emotional and Spiritual  Well-Being Try to keep active and involved with family, friends and local community

Volunteering can be rewarding

Get to know your neighbours

The Mental Health Foundation have great resources and information

Become involved in sports, church or social groups

Become politically involved

Challenge yourself and learn a new skill

Balance rest and activity periods

Consider a pet for company and exercise

Age Concern Accredited Visiting Service

Neighbourhood Support Groups 

Mental Health Foundation 

Contact Age Concern for the following phone numbers in your area -Senior Citizens,  and 60’s Up Movement


SeniorNet, U3A NZ

SPCA 09 256 7300

POTENTIAL FIRE RISKS Ensure electrical applicances are in safe working order – especially electric blankets

Use a multi-plug and do not overload a power point

Install smoke detectors and change the battery at daylight saving time

Have an escape plan in case of fire

Do not smoke in bed

Purchase a fire extinguisher especially for the kitchen

Contact your local Fire Service for assistance with your escape plan and fire safety in general

They can also help install your smoke detector and do a fire safety check.


HOME SECURITY Consider installing
  • Security screens
  • Security chains
  • Wide angle door viewer
  • Security window latches

Plan an alternative exit for emergencies

Join a Neighbourhood Watch Group

Contact your local community constable or Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator

Age Concern  


IN YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD Get to know your neighbours.

Join a Neighbourhood Support Group for your street, join neighbourly to stay connected.

Arrange a system with a neighbour to let them know you are up and about - be alert and aware of happenings in your area.

Contact your local community constable or Neighbourhood Support Co-ordinator


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