Aging in Place, Coronavirus

AVOID FALLS: Learn the facts. Take the pressure of the NHS. #StayHomeStaySafe

March 29, 2020

NHS.UK: Anyone can have a fall, but older people are more vulnerable and likely to fall, especially if they have a long-term health condition.

1 in 3

Falls are a common, but often overlooked, cause of injury. Around 1 in 3 adults over 65 who live at home will have at least one fall a year, and about half of these will have more frequent falls.

Most falls do not result in serious injury. But there’s always a risk that a fall could lead to broken bones, a visit to A&E and it can cause the person to lose confidence, become withdrawn, and feel as if they have lost their independence.

In the UK, falls are the most common cause of injury related deaths in people over the age of 75.

According to data released by NHS Digital nearly 100,000 older people (aged 65+) suffered hip fractures in 2017/18 .

If you think falls are a normal part of ageing, don’t mention it to Professor Julia Newton. She’s one of the lead educators on Newcastle University’s free online course “Ageing Well: Falls.” She explains that people of all ages fall over – but the effects on older people are much worse.

Over the next few months we’re staying at home, shielding people from COVID19 infection so it’s worth looking at what we can do at home:

What can I do to prevent a fall?

Stay active

As we get older, our muscle strength and balance reduces, which can lead to a fall. Exercises designed to improve muscle strength can reduce your risk of a fall by improving your posture, coordination and balance. 

#StayHomeStaySafe. How do I make my home fall-proof?

Many slips, trips and falls happen in or around the home. Keeping an eye out for potential hazards can make your home a safer place. Making some simple changes around your home can make a real difference. Here are our 3 top tips:

  1. Rugs and mats at the top or bottom of the stairs are a trip hazard and can easily lead to a fall, so it’s a good idea to move them out of the way.
  2. Install a night light near the bed to make sure if you wake up in the night you can see where you’re going. You can install a motion-activated light that comes on as needed. 
  3. Remove trip hazards like trailing wires, clutter and rugs. Also, try and avoid glass furniture as it can be harder to see and may cause a stumble. 

Choose the right shoes

Problems with your feet or shoes can affect your balance and increase your risk of tripping or falling. Talk to your doctor about any foot issues.

These footwear tips can help you feel more confident on your feet:

  • Make sure your shoes fit well and don’t have a tendency to slip off.
  • Well-cushioned shoes offer comfort and support.
  • Avoid sandals with little support and shoes with high heels.
  • Wear slippers that have a good grip and that fasten and stay on properly.
  • Always wear shoes or slippers, and never walk indoors in bare feet, socks or tights.

To learn more about avoiding falls, a specific falls programme, visit the Age UK website to get more information about strength and balance training.

Improve your balance. Get Trained. Learn the Facts. Links and Downloads.

I’ve collected some information some pdfs that you can view and if you want to you can then download and a link to a free online course.

Sign up to Professor Julia Newton’s Online training course, free on FutureLearn, just click here to join Ageing Well: Why Older People Fall. Explore why older people fall, discover practical methods to reduce the risk of falling …and recognise when to seek help.

Click here to read and download the pdf booklet Get Up and Go booklet with exercises to help with balance and mobility and tips to help prevent falls.
Click to view the Age UK booklet pdf. A really good set of simple but effective exercises to improve your balance and simple to do at home.

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