Keeping elderly safe from falls

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The dangers of falls among older people are being highlighted by the West Sussex County Council’s southern area prevention assessment team.

Members of the team, which is run in partnership with Sussex Community NHS Trust, will be holding two events in Worthing to help promote Age UK’s national Falls Awareness Week, from June 18 to 22.

This year the focus is ‘Boost Your Bones’, which aims to highlight the importance of exercise alongside a balanced diet rich in calcium and getting enough Vitamin D through sunshine to build and maintain healthy bones.

Falls can represent a serious problem for older people. Each year about a third of over 65s suffer and half of those aged over 80 have potentially serious falls.

They can leave people shaken and bruised, often with broken bones, while one in five falls can be fatal.

This is why it is essential that older people know how to minimise the risks of falls and how to look after their strength, balance and bone health.

The southern area prevention assessment team will be on hand to provide information and advice on Monday, June 18 between 10am and noon outside the Guild Care shop in Goring Road, Worthing and between 10.30am and 12.30pm at the Healthy Living Centre, in Methold House, North Street, Worthing. Here the focus will also include ‘Happy Feet’.

NHS health advisers will be able to discuss factors that influence falls as well as offering general health advice and social care workers will be able to discuss how the team helps people to remain independent.

A wellbeing adviser will also be able to show people how to access support to make lifestyle changes.

Peter Catchpole, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Adults Services, said: “West Sussex County Council attaches great importance to living healthily and independently in old age through our Age with Confidence initiative.

“We have set up three prevention assessment teams across the county, which work with the local wellbeing hubs and the NHS to help people change their lifestyles and to access help when they most need it.

“I fully endorse the aims of Falls Awareness Week and anything we can do to help reduce falls among the elderly population can only be a good thing.”

Last month the team ran a public awareness morning in Ham Road, Shoreham to help support ‘Fruity Friday’.

This is an annual campaign by World Cancer Research Fund UK to encourage the public to eat at least five portions of fruit or vegetables a day to help reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease.