Falls are not an inevitable part of growing older.
During Falls Awareness Week, 26 February 2018 – Sunday 4 March 2018 we're asking you and professionals alike to have a conversation about falls, this isn’t a clinical diagnosis its simply about making falls everyone’s business, so that there’s a greater awareness of the risk factors that contribute to falls.
Every year, around one in three over 65s and one in two people aged over 85 has a fall.
Whilst it’s true that your risk of falling increases as you age, the good news is that there are many simple things that you can do to stay steady on your feet and reduce your risk of having a fall.
Simply by having a greater awareness and a better understanding of what puts you at risk of a fall, can help you to take preventative action.
Talk about it – a problem shared is a problem halved as they say.
Talking more openly about falls, with someone else usually makes falls seem less daunting or troubling. There are many organisations and services that can support you with reducing your risk of a fall. Talking about even the ‘little’ falls, the ones that didn’t cause you an injury is important. Speak to your GP and tell them if you have had a fall, are worried about falling or have been feeling unsteady.
It’s important to get these things addressed before injuries do happen, simply talking about it could help you to stay independent and get your confidence back.
Knowing the risk factors for falling puts you in a strong and steady position to reduce your risk and perhaps eliminate risk altogether.
Stay active and stay strong - Being too sedentary and sitting for too long could lead to muscle weakness of lower limbs and contribute to you being at an increased risk of having a fall.
As the saying goes – ‘use it or lose it’ - Keep those muscles working; move often, this can be in a seated or standing position.
Take up a balance training class that includes exercises to strengthen the muscles of your legs and body. Age Cymru has three programmes of physical activity. Nordic Walking - L.I.F.T (Low Impact Functional Training) and now Tai Chi. To find out if our programmes are available in your area contact our Physical Activity colleagues.
Exercise doesn’t have to be something you dread. It’s not about donning the Lycra and entering into a contract for membership with your local gym. Make it something to look forward to and do something you enjoy. Exercise shouldn’t feel like physical punishment but it should leave you feeling accomplished.
Small actions, can lead to big change. It’s never too late to become more active.
If you are living with a chronic condition, have or are recovering from an injury, taking multiple forms of medication, then seek advice from your medical professional before starting a new type of exercise or routine.
Keep Warm – Regular movement is a great way of regulating your body heat. Staying sat in a sedentary state for too long means cold muscles, poor circulation and muscle weakness.
A drop in temperature in your home, can contribute to worsening of a health condition which could increase your risk of a fall.
Keeping warm can keep you well. The temperature of your home can impact your mobility and how well your muscles function.
We've produced a room thermometer card as part of our Spread the Warmth campaign to help you stay aware of the temperature in your home.
Know the magic numbers that keep you warm, safe and well
- 21°C/70°F is the ideal temperature for your living room.
- 18°C/65°F is the ideal temperature for your bedroom.
- The rest of the house should be heated to at least 18°C / 65°F
‘D’ during daylight - Try and go outdoors each day during daylight hours, particularly if there is sunshine, whether this is a stroll around your garden, neighbouring streets or in a local green space. Spending too long indoors can contribute to vitamin D deficiency due to lack of sunlight exposure. Many of us will be deficient in Vitamin D, particularly during winter.
Adults and children over the age of one should have 10 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin D every day. This means that some people may want to consider taking a supplement. The advice is based on recommendations from the government's Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) following its review of the evidence on vitamin D and health.
If you're taking mediation, prescribed or over the counter, we recommend you speak to your local pharmacist before taking any supplements.
How to reduce your risk of falling
Our sister charity Age UK has produced a handy video with hints and tips on how you can reduce your risk of falling
Age Cymru run a HandyVan service, we can help with small household repairs, minor adaptations and odd jobs that will improve your quality of life. We can fit grab rails, stair rails, replace light bulbs and fit security lights and motion sensor night lights, each of these can help you move around your home safely and with ease.
We were contacted recently by Mrs Hughes with this lovely feedback "Just to thank Sean for doing a great job putting up the grab rail. My husband is so grateful as its made such a difference to him getting up and down the stairs. Diolch"
For more information, please visit our HandyVan page.