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Falls prevention week


12:00am 23rd June 2011

Health bosses at NHS Yorkshire and the Humber are urging people to take care and be aware of the dangers of falling.

This week (20nd-24th June 2011) is national falls awareness week. Having a fall can have serious repercussions for an older person, sometimes resulting in a loss of independence.

It is estimated that falls affect 33% of people over the age of 65. This can result in countless hospital visits for those who fall and this can also create a huge demand on the NHS. In some cases people are moved into residential care for the rest of their life.

Regional director for public health at NHS Yorkshire and the Humber, Paul Johnstone, said:

“The more falls a person has the more reliant on NHS services they become, which can results in a loss of independence and a diminished quality of life.

“Making people aware of why they fall means recurring falls become less common. Our advice would be to make sure your living space is as free from clutter as possible, this will minimise the risk of a trip or fall in the home. When out and about it is also important to make sure you wear appropriate footwear.

“People with elderly relatives may also ask them if they need any assistance with things like picking up groceries, especially when the weather is bad.”

Ground breaking work is now being carried out by specialist teams working across North Yorkshire, helping older people do all they can to avoid reoccurring falls by identifying those at risk, assessing their needs and their home and helping them to be more aware of the hazards. This also helps to prevent people returning to hospital with the same problem time after time.

The Falls Prevention Service advises people over 65 to:

1. Check that slippers/shoes fit properly.
2. Have sight and ears checked each year
3. Ask their doctor to review their medication
4. Use non slip mats inside the bath or shower
5. Keep the home clutter free
6. Make sure the home is well lit
7. Check the rubber on the bottom of a walking stick for wear
8. Keep warm and make sure the home is kept warm
9. Remove loose rugs/mats in the home
10. Try and stay active

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