A new campaign is advising older people how to avoid falling this winter in Cambridgeshire.
The campaign, run by Cambridgeshire County Council, comes at a time when falls are the commonest cause of accidental injury and death in older people in the UK.
In Cambridgeshire, around 2,100 people aged 65 and over were admitted to hospital as an emergency with injuries due to falls in 2013/14 of which just over 600 were due to a fracture of the hip. Nationally, the majority of fractures in older people occur as a result of a fall from a standing height.
Dr Angelique Mavrodaris, Consultant in Public Health at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "We tend to see falls as an inevitable part of ageing. And it's true that some people may fall due to frailty, or illness. But many other falls are preventable and it's these that we want to avoid."
Every member of the community can help to reduce avoidable falls this winter. To help reduce the risk of yourself or someone falling:
- Ensure the physical environment is safe "“ most falls happen in the home. Rugs, power cables and other items placed on the floor can all be trip hazards. All walkways should be clear of obstructions. Adequate lighting can help stop slips, trips and falls. Lighting is particularly important for steps, stairways and walkways. Nightlights and sensor lights will also make night time trips to the toilet safer.
- Recognising and treating vision and hearing problems can help to prevent falls, both in and out of the home. Speak to your GP if you have concerns.
- Review your medication regularly with your GP or pharmacist, as some can cause drowsiness.
- Support friends, neighbours and family to remain active
- Encourage them to keep warm "“ warm muscles work better
If we do have snow in Cambridgeshire this winter and you are fit and well, you can help older neighbours by sweeping snow off pavements and checking on them to make sure they are keeping warm and well.
Charlotte Black, Cambridgeshire County Council's Service Director for Older People and Mental Health added: "Some people may never regain their independence after a fall, and a fall can lead to hospital admission and concerns about whether someone can continue to live independently at home. This is why preventing falls in the first place is fundamental. Even once people start to feel less steady on their feet, there are exercises they can do to regain their strength and balance. It may feel counter-intuitive, but actually remaining active and getting exercise is vital."
Find out more at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/falls