Falls Awareness Week takes place in June every year – the 2011 dates were 20th-24th June.
The event is organised by Age UK and is designed to help elderly people and those who provide elderly care to find out more about falls prevention.
This year, there was a particular focus on the link between reduced vision and falls.
Why is Falls Awareness Week so important?
According to Age UK, more than three million people aged over 65, including half of those aged 80+, have a fall each year. The charity says that the consequences of a fall can be devastating, both physically and emotionally.
Helena Herklots, services director at Age UK, said: “It is not just falls themselves that have an impact. The fear of falling can have a devastating effect on confidence, limiting daily activities and reducing independence.”
What happens during Falls Awareness Week?
Falls Awareness Week will promote activities and projects that help to prevent falls in later life. The importance of rigorous elderly care is highlighted, such as regular eye tests and regular checks on walking sticks and other mobility equipment. Providers of elderly care should also facilitate strength and balance exercises at an organised session or from the comfort of the individual’s armchair.
According to Herklots: “There are a number of things can be done to help prevent falls; simply making sure you have regular eye tests and wearing the right prescription glasses can help with balance and make you feel more confident on your feet.”
Building falls prevention into a programme of elderly care
Many elderly people enjoy full independence and will be able to arrange and attend eye tests, do exercises in their armchairs and check their walking sticks. However, there are some elderly people who will not be capable of doing this alone and will need some degree of elderly care.
It may be that your elderly relative is particularly frail, especially if they are living with a condition such as dementia, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. If this is the case, it is likely they will need help facilitating their health checks and equipment checks. In addition, those living with such conditions are more at risk from falling due to increased physical and mental frailty and so would benefit from attentive elderly care.
Enlisting the services of a high-quality live-in care provider can help in two ways. Firstly, when an elderly relative has a dedicated carer to help them move around, they are far less likely to fall or have an accident. Secondly, a professional carer can help an individual to arrange and attend eye tests and other medical appointments that can help to alleviate the risk of falling. It may be that an elderly care provider is able to provide other life enhancing services in the home that can help reduce the risk of falling.