Who is more at risk of unsupervised falls


Unfortunately, incidences of falls within older adults increases in the winter months. Looking after your loved one and ensuring their safety is paramount. Our Occupational Therapist, Jackie Cooper, has shared her insights into who is more likely to fall and what we can do to help minimise unsupervised falls.

Who is more at risk of unsupervised falls?

Loved ones assessed as needing supervision or assistance with transfers or mobility.

  • Who need support with transfers.
  • Who need encouragement to use walking aids.
  • Who need encouragement to slow down.
  • Who have problems with balance and coordination.
  • Who have poor eyesight.

Loved ones with dementia or short term memory problems.

  • Who are not able to easily retain instructions.
  • Who are easily distracted or impulsive
  • Who become anxious when left on their own.
  • Who may not have insight into the change in their abilities.

Loved ones, with capacity, who wish to make decisions regarding risk against advice.

  • Who want to maintain their independence regardless of the risk.
  • Who choose not to have support during carer’s breaks or at night.

So what can we do?

Preparation for when your loved ones are left on their own

  • Time management – pick the right time.
  • Ensure your loved one is comfortable and doesn’t need to use the bathroom.
  • Make sure your loved one has everything they need to hand, i.e. drink, glasses, books, TV remote and call bell if used, all within reach.


  • Let your loved one know that you are going to leave them on their own for a while, tell them where you are going, why and for how long.
  • Ask them if there is anything they need before you go.
  • For loved ones with memory problems, a written note of where you are going and why. This could be a piece of paper or a whiteboard.
  • A clock or a timer can be helpful to reduce anxiety.


For loved ones who are likely to get up and move about when the carer is not present, it is a good idea to provide an activity to occupy them.

  • A domestic task such as folding small items of laundry.
  • Polishing silver or brass.
  • A jigsaw or colouring book.
  • Have a rummage box ready with all sorts of items to sort through.
  • For those with more advanced dementia try an empathy doll or soft toy.
  • Put some music on, or the TV to provide a focus and background noise.

Additional strategies for night time

  • Good night time routine where possible.
  • Appropriate bed at the right height; if high low bed used then be aware that if a loved one attempts to get out of a bed that is too low, this itself is a fall risk,as is the use of crash mats if your loved one is likely to get out of bed.
  • Ensure commode/walking aids are near to the bed if used.
  • Ensure appropriate lighting; either night lights or motion sensor lights if your loved one does not turn on the lights themselves.
  • If assistive technology is being used, ensure that it is turned on whenever your loved one is in the bed.

If you are currently looking after a loved one and considering formal care, speak to our Client Services team who will be able to navigate you through your care journey. If you are unsure about live-in care, why not trial our service with a short stay respite? Call 020 3728 7577.

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