Falls Awareness Week 12 – 18 July 2021:
Falls amongst older people can have a devastating impact but they are not an inevitable part of ageing
Three charities who work with older people on a regular basis have joined forces to address the devastating impact that falls can have on older people in Wales. Age Connects Wales, Age Cymru and Care & Repair Cymru have come together to deliver Falls Awareness Week. The aim of Falls Awareness Week is to highlight an issue that is all too often only talked about when it is too late, re-assure those who have suffered a fall that they are not the only ones and encourage older people to take as many preventative measures as possible.
The week also aims to encourage professionals working with older people to do all they can to help prevent falls and provide appropriate support to those who have suffered a fall.
Funded by the Welsh Government, the campaign is also endorsed by the National Falls Prevention Taskforce who’s wide network will be actively supporting this work.
The devastating impact of falls amongst older people: 700 older people in Wales will die from a fall this year
According to Public Health Wales forecasting more than 700 older people in Wales will die from a fall this year, with a further 7,750 requiring hospital based treatment. It also predicts that more than 132,000 older people in Wales will fall more than once in their home. It is estimated that the combined falls amongst older people costs the NHS in Wales a staggering £2.3 billion.
The partnership also reveals that, following a fall, 2,800 older people will suffer a hip fracture often requiring extensive treatment. One of the saddest aspects is that each year more than 1,400 older people will lose their independence as a result of a fall. Many lose their self-confidence and seek some form of sheltered accommodation, perhaps many years before they intended such a move.
Falls are not an inevitable part of ageing
Age Connect Wales’ Karen Steele says: “Falls are not an inevitable part of ageing and there are many things people can do to help reduce their risk of falling. For example, staying active through regular exercise helps improve core strength and balance. There are many safe exercises for older people such as Nordic Walking and Tai Cchi. Older people should also look after their feet and make sure they don’t allow their toe nails to grow too long. When out and about older people should keep themselves hydrated and remember to use their walking aids.”
Age Cymru’s Angharad Phillips urges older people not to live in fear of falling. She says: “Older people should speak to their GP about any concerns they may have about falling and also to their pharmacist about the possible side effects of the medication they’ve been prescribed. Older people can also take advantage of a free eye test once they reach 60 years of age. The important thing is to seek help and not suffer in silence.”
Care & Repair Cymru’s Neil Williams adds: “There is much we can do to make our homes safer in terms of falls prevention. For example, installing grab rails in strategic positions around the home, taping down frayed carpets and rugs and ensuring stairs and steps are well lit and are not a hazard. We’d also urge people to review how they can live safely, with some simple advice like checking they have safe footwear and to make sure they’re not wearing old slippers that no longer support their feet correctly.”
For more advice and information about falls and Falls Awareness Week please contact:
Age Connects Wales
East Tyndall Street
Telephone 01639 617 333
East Moors Road
Cardiff CF24 5TD
Telephone 029 2043 1555
Care & Repair Cymru
East Moors Road
Cardiff CF24 5TD
Telephone 0300 111 3333 (local service)