Information for the public

Assessing your risk of falling

If you are 65 or older, when you see a healthcare professional they should routinely ask you whether you have had a fall in the past year. If you have fallen, they should ask you how many times this has happened, what caused the fall and what happened when you fell.

Checking balance and walking

If you have had a fall or you are at risk of having one, your balance and walking should be checked. This may involve one or more simple tests to see if your balance or walking could be improved.

Having a 'falls risk assessment'

You should be offered a 'falls risk assessment' if you go for a check-up or treatment because you have had one or more falls, or if you have problems with your balance or walking. This assessment aims to uncover anything that might make you more likely to fall and to see whether there are specific things that can be done to help you.

The assessment should be carried out by a healthcare professional with training and experience in helping people to avoid falls. You may be asked to go to a specialist clinic (or 'falls service') for it.

The assessment may include:

  • talking with you about any falls you have already had – what caused you to fall and what happened

  • asking how you feel about getting around and doing things, and if you have a fear of falling

  • checks on your walking, balance and mobility, and whether you have any muscle weakness

  • checking whether you have any problems with your eyesight

  • testing whether you have problems with your memory and how well your nervous system is working

  • checking whether you have problems with bladder control (urinary incontinence)

  • checks on your heart and blood pressure

  • looking at any medicines you take

  • checks to see if you are at risk of osteoporosis (a condition in which bones become fragile and break easily)

  • checks on whether there are things in your home that may make you more likely to fall.

The falls risk assessment should be done as part of a plan to help you avoid falls.

  • Information Standard