250,000 hospitalised due to a fall every year
Published on 14 June 2013 04:30 PM
Age UK has today revealed that 250,000 people aged 65+ in England are treated in hospital as the result of a fall every year. The figures have been announced to mark the start of Age UK's Falls Awareness Week 2013 (17-21 June), which aims to raise awareness of the things that people can do to help prevent the devastating consequences of a fall in later life.
Over 9,000 older people die every year as the result of a fall and injuries from falls are one of the leading causes of death for over-75s. For others, the impact of a fall and the resulting injuries can be life-changing, leaving many feeling isolated, anxious and reluctant to leave home.
Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General at Age UK, commented: 'With the older population projected to rise by nearly 50% in the next 20 years, the number of people over 65 experiencing falls to the extent where they are receiving hospital treatment is a real concern. Falls in later life are often dismissed as an inevitable part of growing older, however the reality is that there is something we can all do prevent a fall and increase our chances of living a healthy and independent life for as long as possible. Prevention is better than cure and more should be done to support and promote this.'
Focusing on feet
There are a range of reasons why older people fall and for this year's Falls Awareness Week, Age UK is focusing on foot conditions and complaints which can result in foot pain. These can cause problems with balance, walking and sensation in the feet which often lead to falls.
Last year nearly 60,000 people aged 65+ were treated in hospital in England after tripping or stumbling on a flat surface and nearly 18,000 from a fall on or from stairs. However, some of the more unusual reasons include over 2,000 people aged 65+ falling from a ladder, 37 falling from trees and 52 experiencing falls involving playground equipment.
Television presenter and broadcaster, Judith Chalmers OBE, is supporting Age UK's Falls Awareness Week, saying: 'Having a fall really can be quite a life-changing experience. Last year my husband Neil fell on cobblestones and broke his ankle in three places. This had a quite an impact on our day to day lives and has made both of us very wary about how steady we are on our feet. I'd urge everyone to try and stay physically active and do everything they can to help prevent falls when they are older.'
Olympic Gold Medallist Sally Gunnell OBE DL is supporting the Week, saying: 'I've had my fair share of injuries throughout my athletic career and I know how important it is to look after yourself, including your feet. Maintaining good general health and well-being throughout your life can stand you in good stead in older age. I'm supporting Age UK's call for everyone to put their best foot forward for Falls Awareness Week to help enjoy a healthy lifestyle as we get older.'
Falls Awareness Week 2013
During Falls Awareness Week 2013, Age UK will be working with falls prevention services, hospitals and other charities, including local Age UKs, to host events and activities for people in later life. The Week is promoting activities and projects that help to prevent falls in later life - from finding out how to do strength and balance exercises at an organised session or from the comfort of an armchair, to letting people know how important it is to keep feet healthy.
To download Age UK's free ‘Staying Steady' and ‘Healthy Living' guides and to find out more about local events during Falls Awareness Week (17-21 June 2013) visit www.ageuk.org.uk/falls or call Age UK Advice free on 0800 169 6565.
For those living on their own or worried about a fall, an Age UK Personal Alarm can help to provide peace of mind, connecting the user to a dedicated call centre at the touch of a button, 24 hours a day. Find out more about the Age UK Personal Alarm and how to purchase by calling 0800 022 4026 or visiting www.ageuk.org.uk/alarm.