Falls Prevention Week is back on Monday 21 September and to help residents to understand just how serious the risk of falls is for people aged 65 and over, Barnsley Council has linked arms with Barnsley CCG with the #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 Barnsley, there were 1,205 emergency admissions to hospital for falls in 2018/19 for people over 65 years of age.
For people to stay happy and independent, it’s important that the risks of falling are understood, so that small changes can be made to avoid it from happening. These risks should be taken very seriously because of the significant impact they can have on a person's health. Reduce the risk by:
- taking care of physical health
- making simple changes to the home
- exercising to improve strength and balance
Regular ear checks and sight tests are important to identify problems early, while reducing dizzy spells and poor balance. Yearly medication reviews can also help for medications that can have side effects that make people more likely to fall, along with avoiding drinking excessive amounts of alcohol as this can contribute to the development of osteoporosis.
The NHS website has lots of resources for low-impact, easy exercises and ideas to improve strength and balance. Taking time to strengthen muscles can help to prevent falls and has additional benefits such as feeling happier, sleeping better and improving overall health and wellbeing.
One of the most important ways to reduce falls in the home and to stay independent is by removing clutter, trailing wires and rugs. Spills and slippery floors are also common culprits, so it’s important to avoid these and investigate any problems. At night, it can be hard to see hazards, nightlights in the corridors, for example, can be good ways to make journeys around the house safer. Although old slippers may be comfortable, they can become loose. To help older people to stay on their toes, properly fitted shoes and slippers can help reduce slips and trips.
For people who have concerns about a loved one staying safe at home, Able offers a range of assistive living technology from the Independent Living at Home Service for people who might need extra support to live independently in their own home for longer. Able’s Disabled Facilities Grants team can also help to provide adaptations for people with disabilities, including things such as stairlifts, ramps and showers.
Cllr Jim Andrews, Cabinet Spokesperson for Public Health, said: “As people get older, it can be a little bit harder to do some of the things we take for granted doing every day. While this is a normal part of getting older, there are lots of things we can do to make sure that people over the age of 65 can do to reduce the risks of falls. #FallProofBarnsley is here to provide information for how people and their loved ones can make small changes to stay happy and healthy at home.”
Jayne Sivakumar, Chief Nurse at NHS Barnsley CCG said: “It’s really important that we understand the risks of falling and how this can be prevented. We’re pleased to be part of the #FallProofBarnsley campaign to encourage residents to make small changes to their routine and home to reduce hospital admissions and improve overall health.”
To find out more about the campaign and ways over 65’s can stay happy, healthy and independent, visit the falls prevention webpage at barnsley.gov.uk/Fall-Proof and check search #FallProofBarnsley on social media for falls prevention week.