Mobility and reducing the risk of falling

Living independently means that we do a lot of things ourselves, like housework, shopping for food and taking care of ourselves.

As we get older, our bodies change in their ability to do certain things and something we may need to start looking at is our mobility and how we reduce our risk of falling.

Falls can result in injuries – after the age of 50, 1 in 2 women will suffer a broken bone (fracture) due to a fall. Research also shows falls can lead to a loss of confidence, and a reduction in activity levels and participating in the community.  

The major predictors of falls include low bone density, reduced postural stability (the ability to control the body position in space for the purpose of movement and balance), and reduced lower limb muscle strength.

Reducing the risk of falling

There are ways women can reduce the risk of falling, including: 

  • Bone mineral density being assessed and treated if low 
  • Staying physically active  
  • Trying balance and strength training exercises (you can find out more about this is our section on Physical activity)

Making changes to your home can also to help to reduce the risk of falling – the following organisations offer some tips on how you can do this:

There are also steps you can take to reduce the loss of bone density as you get older, which keeps you stronger and means you are less likely to have a bad injury if you do fall. 

Physical activity and eating well are the main actions – and you can read more about these in our Eating for wellbeing and Physical activity sections.

And there are some excellent videos that help with improving balance – here is just one, from Stay On Your Feet WA, to get you started. 

Staying independent and connected without a car

Another thing to think about is the fact that at some point you may decide you no longer feel comfortable driving. This can be a difficult decision and has the potential to make you feel less mobile and less connected, which can be bad for your mental wellbeing. Public transport networks are not always reliable, regular or feel safe, and often don’t account for the needs of older women travellers.

If you do decide to limit your driving, or stop it all together, you can get support that helps you plan your travel. You may like to have a look at How safe is your car? from the Transport Accident Commission or see how ageing can affect driving at VicRoads. And there are useful tips on how to keep driving safely through 


AMS (2019) Prevention of falls and fractures. Australian Menopause Society. Healesville, Vic.  

Australian Human Rights Commission (2019) Older women’s risk of homelessness: background paper. AHRC, Sydney.  

Feldman S, Radermacher H (2019) Vital conversations: giving older women in greater Melbourne a voice. Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, Melbourne. 

Field et al (2017) Walking up to one hour per week maintains mobility as older women age: findings from an Australian Longitudinal Study. Journal of Aging And Physical Activity. 25(2): 269–276.  

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Kirkman, Maggie (2023) Time of Our Lives: Celebrating Older Women. Monash University Publishing, Melbourne. 

Kwok W, Dolja-Gore X, Khalatbari-Soltani S, et al. (2022) 488 Falls and physical activity in older Australian women from two different generations. Injury Prevention. 28: A74.  

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Russell S (2020) Financial abuse already hurts older people, especially women, the economic downturn now heightens the risk. Women’s Agenda. (Jun 14): 1 webpage. 

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