Did you know that the number of emergency hospital admissions due to injuries for people aged 65 to 74 in Warrington is higher than the national average and that Warrington has one of the highest rates of hospital admissions in the country due to injuries for people aged 75 to 84?
This winter, the NHS in Warrington is encouraging everyone to learn more about falls prevention so we can help reduce the number of people in the borough suffering falls and fractures as a result of slips, trips, accidents and age-related conditions.
The impact a fall can have on an individual and their family can be devastating, leading to potential longer stays in hospital, loss of confidence, anxiety and social isolation. For example in Warrington, the majority of people aged 75 to 84 who are admitted to hospital as the result of an injury will be admitted for at least seven days with some staying in hospital up to 21 days.
Whether you are an older person yourself or you have older relatives, neighbours or friends, the good news is that there are lots of simple changes people can make to reduce their risk of falls.
Top tips for preventing falls in the home
- Immediately mopping up spillages.
- Remove clutter, trailing wires and frayed carpet and use non-slip mats and rugs.
- Use high-wattage light bulbs in lamps and torches, so you can see clearly.
- Organise your home so that climbing, stretching and bending for things are kept to a minimum will help you to avoid bumping into things.
- Get help to do things that you're unable or not confident to do safely on your own.
- Wear well-fitting slippers and shoes with sole grips that are in good condition and support your ankles and avoid wearing clothes that trail to avoid tripping.
- Take care of your feet by trimming your toenails regularly and seeing a GP or chiropodist about any foot problems.
- Do regular strength and balance exercises to reduce your risk of having a fall. Why not sign up to Livewire’s Stay on Your Feet scheme? This is an eight week exercise programme aimed at people aged 65 who want to improve overall fitness. Each 1.5 hour session is designed to help improve balance, flexibility and co-ordination as well as increasing muscle strength, cardiovascular fitness and flexibility. Find out more at https://livewirewarrington.co.uk/lifestyle/get-back-into-exercise/594-stay-on-your-feet
- If you're taking long-term medication, your GP should review your medicines at least once a year to make sure they're still right for you. It's particularly important that your medicines are reviewed if you're taking four or more medicines a day. Your GP may recommend alternative medication or lower doses if they feel the side effects increase your chances of having a fall. In some cases, it may be possible for the medication to be stopped.
- You should make an appointment to have a sight test if you're concerned that poor vision (even when wearing glasses) is increasing your risk of having a fall.
- You can request a home hazard assessment if you're concerned that you or a relative may be at risk of having a fall, or if you know someone who has recently had a fall. Contact your GP or Warrington Borough Council to find our more.
If you live in Warrington and have a fall or you are at risk of a fall, your GP or health professional may refer you to one of the following services:
- The Warrington Wellbeing Team, based at The Gateway, provide a useful one stop shop to get you to start feeling back on track. Their health and wellbeing advisors can provide a range of useful information on a range of issues including health and falls prevention. Find out more at https://www.mylifewarrington.co.uk/kb5/warrington/directory/service.page?id=qDujq6mNgYM.
- The Community Rehab and Falls Team, provided by Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with Warrington Clinical Commissioning Group. Their team of health professionals provide home visits to carry out physical examinations and specialist tests to determine the cause of your fall and how to reduce your chances of falling in future. They will also help you to improve your bone health. Find out more at http://www.bridgewater.nhs.uk/warrington/fallsrehabilitationservice/.
Find out more about falls prevention at Reduce Risk of Falling - Be Active’ page on MyLife Warrington and https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/falls/prevention/.
pdf Active at home during the coronavirus outbreak. A guide to being active at home during the coronavirus outbreak for older people and those who are shielded.