As you age, you are more at risk of falling over, and the risk of injury increases.
However, COTA (Council on the Ageing) NSW Living Longer Living Stronger co-ordinator Kamilla Haufort says there's plenty you can do about it, whatever your age.
She says the best thing is to prevent falls in the first place - being careful when you're on an uneven surface, watching where you put your feet, and not taking unnecessary risks by climbing on unstable supports or improperly positioned ladders. (Falling off a ladder while doing maintenance in the home is a significant cause of injury in men of retirement age and older.)
"Fall-proofing your home is also crucial," Kamilla said. "Make sure any mats have non-slip material underneath them, install good lighting, remove clutter from hallways and doorways, get non-slip mats for the bathroom and consider modifications to areas that are more risky like high kitchen cupboards and in-bath showers."
Looking after your health is important too. Kamilla recommends having your eyes tested regularly and ensuring you have the right glasses. "And take care of your feet - see a podiatrist if you notice any changes, and wear non-slip, well-fitting footwear."
It is also recommended that all adults (regardless of age, health, or ability) to do 30-60 minutes of physical activity most days.
COTA NSW is supporting the Better Balance for Fall Prevention campaign, developed by the NSW Fall Prevention and Healthy Ageing Network, to help older people find appropriate exercise programs to meet their needs and interests.
On the April Falls website you can find local exercise programs and exercise professionals, as well as more tips to prevent falls, a home safety checklist and introductory fall prevention exercises to help you get started.
COTA NSW's Living Longer Living Stronger strength and balance exercise program is one option which is available in many parts of Sydney and regional NSW. COTA organisations in several states also offer the classes (sometimes under the name Strength for Life). Each person has their own exercise plan within the class to meet their own needs and goals.
Find out more HERE
For Victorian classes, click HERE
For Western Australia, click HERE
For Tasmania, click HERE
For South Australia, click HERE
For the ACT, click HERE
For Northern Territory, click HERE
If you are concerned about whether you can safely embark on an exercise program, speak to your GP. You may also be eligible for the Enhanced Primary Care referral program which may reduce the cost.