I can't really let Fall Prevention Week pass without acknowledgement. Falls are far too prevalent amongst older people, and the consequences of falling can be devastating, from loss of confidence (which sets you up for further falls) to long-term disability and death. A quarter of those who need hospital treatment following a fall die within a year.
The importance of reducing falls is demonstrated by the fact that it is one of the eight High Impact Actions identified by the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, where clinical practitioners can concentrate their efforts to the greatest effect, in terms of improving outcomes for patients and reducing costs.
Reasons for falling are many and varied, but there are plenty of commonsense steps we can all take, to help ourselves. From making sure that we have (and wear!) the correct spectacles; that we eat sensibly and stay properly hydrated; don't schlep about in floppy slippers or skirts that are too long; to removing those trailing wires and rumpled mats that are just asking to be tripped on.
Exercise is also really important: keeping active and moving with confidence makes you less likely to fall. Regular readers may recall my recent conversion to the joys of keeping fit with the Nintendo Wii, and I have been interested to see how widely it is now being used as a tool for rehabilitation and physiotherapy, with at least one NHS trust using it specifically in an eight-week course to improve balance and coordination, so that people reduce their risk of falling.
There are lots of tips to help avoid falls, as well as information about what to do if you or someone you care for does have a fall, in the dedicated area on the website:
Please visit the Age UK website to find information on how to organise a Falls Awareness event, etc