Why should we be interested in falls?
Around 30 per cent of over 65s in North Lincolnshire living at home will fall each year. This rises to 50 per cent of those aged 80 living at home or in care homes. Of these falls, 20 per cent will require medical attention.
Six per cent of falls amongst the over 65s result in a fracture, including one per cent hip fractures.
There were over 500 emergency admissions to hospital for hip fractures as a result of a fall in 2013/14 in North Lincolnshire; this is in addition to emergency admissions for other injuries caused by falls.
- Keep home free of clutter and make sure there are no trailing wires
- Be aware of tripping hazards such as rugs and pets
- Be aware of uneven floors
- Consider using a slip proof mat in the bath and shower
- Ensure lighting is sufficient to see
- Wipe up spills straight away
- Avoid walking on slippery floors in socks or tights
- Don’t rush to answer the door or telephone, consider getting a portable or mobile telephone
- Wear properly fitting shoes and slippers with non skid soles
- Replace slippers and shoes that have stretched and are too loose
- Look after your feet taking care to trim your toenails and see a chiropodist / podiatrist about any foot problems. Podiatry Services can be accessed in the Community Wellbeing Hubs
Doing regular exercise such as walking, Pilates and Tai Chi can improve your strength and balance, reducing your risk of falling.
Local leisure centres and Community Wellbeing Hubs can offer supervised walks and training programmes for older people.
There are five Community Wellbeing Hubs located in Scunthorpe, Winterton, Barton, Brigg and Epworth
High blood pressure can cause dizziness, increasing the risk of falling. If you are experiencing dizziness visit your GP for a blood pressure check.
It is important to keep a check on your health; if you are in the 40-74 age group and don’t have a pre-existing health condition such as:
- Kidney Disease
- Peripheral Arterial Disease and Atrial Fibrillation
- High blood pressure, or
- High cholesterol
you can have a free mid life MOT. The NHS Health Check can help you prevent or delay the onset of diabetes, stroke, heart and kidney disease and dementia.
If you have been taking medication your GP or practice nurse will review these every year to ensure that they are still right for you, and if not may stop them or recommend a lower dose, particularly if they have side effects which increase your chance of falling. A review of your medication is particularly important if you are taking four or more different medications a day.
It is important to store your medications in a well lit area and to make sure they are clearly labelled.
Avoid drinking alcohol as this can increase your risk of falling and can also contribute to osteoporosis.
If you think your poor vision is increasing your risk of falls, even when wearing glasses, make an appointment to have a sight test.
Having your ears checked regularly could help prevent dizzy spells and poor balance which can also lead to falls.
If you have fallen before, have poor balance or mobility, or feel you are at risk of falls, you may need to be assessed by a health professional. For help on how to be referred ask at your local Community Wellbeing Hub, or contact your nearest Integrated Health and Social Care Team directly: