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250,000 60+ hospitalised due to a fall every year

Published on 17 June 2013 12:30 AM

250,000 older people hospitalised due to a fall every year

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 [1]. 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 [2] and injuries from falls are one of the leading causes of death for over-75s [3]. 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, said: 'With the older population projected to rise by nearly 50% in the next 20 years [4], 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.'

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 [5] 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 [6].

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.'

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.

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For any Falls Awareness Week media enquiries please call Sarah Scott at Age UK on 020 3033 1434 or email sarah.scott@ageuk.org.uk.

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Notes to editors

  1. Provisional Monthly Hospital Episode Statistics, HSCIC website http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB11051 published 14 June 2013
  2. Number of deaths and age-standardised rate per 1 million population, where the cause specified was mentioned on the death certificate, by place of death, England and Wales, 1997-2009,  Table 2, ONS Mortality Statistics 2012
  3. NHS Choices website, Falls (overview), 2011 http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Falls/Pages/Introduction.aspx
  4. National population projections, 2010-based, Office for National Statistics, 2011  
  5. Detailed as ‘the same level' in Hospital Episode Statistics
  6. Provisional Monthly Hospital Episode Statistics, HSCIC website http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB11051 published 14 June 2013 

Age UK

For media enquiries relating to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland please contact the appropriate national office: Age Scotland on 0131 668 8055, Age Cymru on 029 2043 1562 and Age NI on 028 9024 5729.

Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged, dedicated to improving later life.

We provide free information, advice and support to over six million people; commercial products and services to well over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and well being, home and care, work and training and leisure and lifestyle. We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI (together the Age UK Family), our local Age UK partners in England and local Age Concerns. We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.

Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Together they have formed the Age UK Group ("we").  Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity's trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity)

Last updated: Oct 06 2017

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