STOP FALLING AND START SAVING LIVES
Stop falling and start saving lives
Every year, more than one in three (3.4 million) people over 65 suffer a fall that can cause serious injury, and even death.
Every minute, six people over 65 suffer a fall.
Falls represent the most frequent and serious type of accident in people aged 65 and over. Furthermore, falls are the main cause of disability and the leading cause of death from injury among people aged over 75 in the UK.
Falls destroy confidence, increase isolation and reduce independence. A fall can hasten a move into residential care. After a hip fracture, 50 per cent of people can no longer live independently. The after-effects of even the most minor fall can be catastrophic for an older person’s physical and mental health.
Fear of falling again, among older people and those who care for them, reduces quality of life and well-being, even if a fall does not result in serious consequences. However, falls are not inevitable. There is a mass of evidence showing that exercise programmes designed to improve strength and balance, delivered over several weeks or months, can lead to a reduction in falls.
Yet such services are not available to all older people at the time when they need them. It is outrageous that over a million falls could be prevented by using the right exercises. Decision-makers in government and commissioners at the local level need to do more to address this issue.
Every hour, an older person dies as the result of a hip fracture.
Evidence shows that specific programmes for improving strength and balance can reduce the risk of falls by as much as 55 per cent. If all over-65s followed a tailored exercise programme, we would prevent 7,000 unnecessary deaths a year – 19 a day – from hip fractures alone.
People in later life should undertake physical activities to improve muscle strength at least twice a week
All people in later life should undertake physical activities to improve muscle strength at least twice a week in addition to the primary recommendation of 150 minutes, activities can include heavy gardening or dancing or gym based exercises.
Older adults at risk of falls should also undertake physical activity involving balance training on two or more days per week for the prevention of falls. This should be in addition to the primary recommendation of 150 minutes, although some aerobic activities can also enhance balance (e.g. dancing), and some movements simultaneously strengthen muscles and improve balance (e.g. tai chi exercise)
As a local personal trainer to Colchester I train many who are struggling with balance and falls and my aim is to get you on a training programme that will benefit you for the rest of your life.