The organisation, Cornwall’s largest provider of care for older people, has released its top five tips to prevent falls and fractures as we grow older, to coincide with Age UK’s Falls Awareness Week 2012, which runs from June 18-22.
Around 30% of over 65s and 50% of those aged over 80 fall every year, often resulting in serious consequences, both physically and mentally. In addition to bruising, fractures, and in some cases, death, a fall can destroy confidence, increase isolation and reduce independence.
Cornwall Care’s top five tips for reducing the risk of falls are:
1. Remove trip hazards including clutter on the floor and even loose mats and cables, which can often be overlooked if they’ve been there for years
2. Wear substantial footwear which doesn’t easily slip off
3. Install handrails, both inside and out of the home, to aid support. It doesn’t matter what they look like – safety comes first
4. Use a non-slip mat in the bath or shower, where falls often take place
5. Use aids such as a helping hand, which avoids the need to bend over and lose balance
Douglas Webb, Chief Executive of Cornwall Care, said: “We see first hand the impact of falls on the people we care for and their families, but it doesn’t take a great effort to make a big difference.
“We want to challenge the common perception that falling is an inevitable part of ageing. Following these simple tips could make the difference between falling and maintaining independence.
“We are proud to back Falls Awareness Week 2012, and to highlight the importance of exercise alongside a balanced diet rich in calcium and getting enough vitamin D through sunshine to build and maintain healthy bones, helping to prevent falls in later life.
“Healthy bones can be maintained through simple weight bearing exercise, such as a brisk walk, but there are even strength and balance exercises people can do while sitting down.
“By raising awareness and encouraging everyone to look at what they can do in their own homes to prevent a fall, we hope to improve the quality of life for older people.”
Cornwall Care’s in-house maintenance team is dedicated to making sure people’s homes are safe and comfortable, including fitting aids such as handrails and access ramps.
Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General of Age UK, said: “As we get older our bone strength naturally deteriorates, which puts us at greater risk of serious injury if we do fall. Every step can make a difference – from simply walking up the stairs to getting active in a local exercise class.”
To download Age UK’s free ‘Staying Steady’ and ‘Healthy Eating’ guides call 0800 169 6565 or visit www.ageuk.org.uk.
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