Study highlights fear of falls among over-75s
Published on 31 October 2012 11:30 AM
Many people over the age of 75 are too afraid to go outside because they are worried about falling, according to a new study.
A poll found that more than one in five people in this age group lived in fear of suffering a fall, with 5% saying they would not leave their homes unaccompanied.
With winter approaching, the study suggests fewer people will be willing to venture outside. Many said the bad weather made them more concerned about the risk of falling.
Poor street lighting and uneven pavements were among the other factors which made people feel less confident about leaving the house, according to the poll by the Women's Royal Voluntary Service (WRVS).
More than a third of the over-75s polled said they had suffered a fall in the past, with one fifth saying it had made them more worried about going outside.
'Psychological effects can be as devastating as physical injuries'
The WRVS polled 500 people aged 75 and over. The charity's chief executive David McCullough said the findings were 'bleak'.
He added: 'With winter approaching, older people have little confidence to get out and about because they fear they will fall and, as this research shows, the psychological effects of worrying about a fall can be as debilitating and devastating as physical injuries.'
Falls make up half of all hospital admissions for accidental injury
Previous research showed around one in three over-65s who are living at home will experience at least one fall a year, but Age UK charity director Michelle Mitchell suggested many falls can be prevented.
She said: 'Over three million people over the age of 65 in the UK suffer a fall each year. This represents half of all hospital admissions for accidental injury, with many of these resulting in fractures (broken bones).
'At their worst falls can be the cause of death, but falls are not an inevitable part of ageing - many falls can be prevented and there is much that can be done to help people who have fallen not to fall again.'
Copyright Press Association 2012