How to Create a Falls Plan

Be prepared for a fall so you can get help quickly

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This page was last updated on 9 August 2022

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    If you are older, it is not definite that you will experience a fall but your risk of having a fall increases at age 65 and over. Around a third of people aged 65 and over, and around half of people aged 80 and over, fall at least once a year. It is a good idea to be prepared for the chance of falling. Knowing what to do, how you will get help and who you will contact will decrease your risk of serious injury and emotional distress.

    Know Your Options of Getting Help

    Living With Someone

    If you live with someone it may make sense for them to be your first emergency contact as they are likely to be around you to respond quickly if you do fall in the house. If they are in another room when you fall then shouting, banging an object against the floor or using a basic alarm is likely to get their attention.

    Living Alone

    If you live alone, you may ask a neighbour, friend or relative to check in often on you in case you have a fall. Other options for getting help include using a mobile or response aid such as a personal alarm. These devices alert your emergency contact or a response centre that you have fallen so someone will come quickly to offer you support.

    If you don’t have a mobile or response aid in reach you can use a basic alarm or make loud noises through shouting and banging to draw attention to you. Using basic alarms or shouting is a less reliable way of getting help as you may not be heard or you may be too injured to shout and create noise. Phones and personal alarms are often dependable ways of getting help in emergency situations.

    Using a Phone

    If you decide using a phone is the way you will get help if you fall then a mobile phone would be a better option over a landline phone. With a mobile phone, you are able to carry it on you at all times and it can save numbers on it. Meaning if you fall you don’t have to move, you can grab your mobile out of your pocket and ring your emergency contact within seconds without having to memorise a number.

    • Keep your phone charged.
    • Always have credit on your phone so you can make calls.
    • Carry your phone on you at all times.
    • Give your number to a neighbour, friend or relative so they can call you to check up on you if you are worried.
    • When you choose who your emergency contacts are let them know. This means if they have a missed call of you, they will know to check in on you.

    Using a Response Aid

    If you decide you would like to use a response aid you should decide if you want it as a pendant, wristband or belt clip. You should wear your response aid at all times so pick whichever form you will find most comfortable.

    There are different types of response aids that offer different features, although they should all offer the core feather of sending an alert to a contact or response centre when pressed. You may want additional features such as GPS tracking or fall detection, as they can provide extra safety if you are prone to falling.

    Using an Alarm

    Alarms are used to raise attention that you need help. It is not guaranteed that someone will hear it so it is recommended that you use one alongside another way of getting help such as a mobile phone.

    You should keep your alarm on you at all times. If you have a fall activate your alarm, it will emit a loud noise and draw attention to you.

    How to Let Help Into Your Home

    You need to decide how you will let help into your house. Falls can happen at any time, especially if you fall at night your home is likely to be locked.

    • Leaving a spare key with an emergency contact that you trust.
    • Using a key safe – A key safe is a strong, secure box in which you can store keys. You can place it outside your house, next to your door and it can only be opened by a combination code.

    Remember that whoever you give a spare key to or your combination code to your key safe should be someone you trust very well.

    Make People Aware of Your Falls Plan

    When you have decided your falls plan, including how you will get help, who you will contact and how they will get into your house, you should let the person involved in your plan know. This means they can follow your plan and get to you in the quickest time possible.