This week, we're coming together with partners from across Yorkshire and Humber to raise awareness of the risk of falls and the simple changes older people can make to prevent slips and trips.
We'll be using Yorkshire and Humber Falls Awareness Week as an opportunity to highlight key advice for staying safe and steady this winter through our #FallProofBarnsley campaign.
Falls are a common and serious problem for older people. Each year, 30 per cent of people older than 65 have a fall, rising to 50 per cent of people older than 80.
In 2019/2020, there were 1,305 emergency admissions to Barnsley hospitals due to falls for people aged 65 and over.
Falls can have a serious impact on a person's health and independence. It is therefore important to understand the risks of falling so that small changes can be made to help people stay safe and well.
You can reduce your risk of falling by:
- Taking care of your physical health.
- Exercising to improve your strength and balance.
- Making simple changes to your home.
Regular ear checks and sight tests are important to identify problems early and lower your risk of falls, helping to reduce dizzy spells and poor balance.
Yearly medication reviews and not drinking excessive amounts of alcohol are also good ways to take care of your physical health while reducing your risk of falls.
Low-impact exercises, such as walking, gardening or dancing, are a great way to improve your strength and balance, as are smaller changes to your daily routine like standing up regularly or taking time for gentle stretches.
Being more active is a great way to prevent falls, boost your mood and improve your sleep. Get inspired by visiting our What’s Your Move website.
Alternatively, Functional Fitness and our regional Falls Prevention Network are running a free virtual strength and balance exercise class as part of our Falls Awareness Week.
Join Leon and his mum Janet on Wednesday 29 September at 1pm for a mix of standing and seated exercises that will help you stay on your feet. Book your place here.
This live exercise class will also be shown in the Lightbox Library.
You can also make simple changes to your home to reduce your risk of falls and stay independent. By removing clutter, trailing wires and rugs, as well as keeping an eye out for spills and slippery floors, you can avoid common tripping hazards around the home.
At night, it can be hard to see these things, making nightlights in corridors a great way to stay safe after dark.
Another way to make your journeys safer is by thinking about what is on your feet. Although old slippers can be comfortable, they can become loose and increase your risk of falls. Properly fitted shoes and slippers are an easy way to help you stay on your feet.
Councillor Jim Andrews, Cabinet Spokesperson for Public Health, said: "We want everyone in Barnsley to be able to enjoy a happy and healthy life. Falls Awareness Week is a great opportunity to highlight the small changes we can make to reduce our risk of falls as we get older and help our loved ones stay safe and on their feet.
"Over the past year, older people across Barnsley have spent time shielding or self-isolating, leaving them without the same opportunities to stay active and connected with others. While this may have impacted on their strength, balance and confidence, there is lots of great support in our community and online for healthy and active ageing."
To mark the International Day of Older Persons on Friday (1 October), we have been working with Age UK Barnsley to organise the Age Friendly Barnsley Festival.
A celebration of all the great support in our community, there is lots planned. Find out how you can join in the festivities this week on our Age Friendly Barnsley webpage.
To find out more about #FallProofBarnsley and how you can reduce your risk of falls, visit our falls prevention webpage and keep an eye out on our social media channels!