Falls Awareness Week

6 February 2017

Every year, around one in three over-65s and one in two people aged over 85 will have a fall.

Care & Repair Cymru, Age Cymru and Age Connects Wales have joined forces to raise the profile of falls as a major health issue affecting up to 460,000 older people in Wales each year.

Falls prevention is important for healthy ageing and enjoying quality of life in later years. Falls Awareness Week is an opportunity to share knowledge of risk factors that contribute to falls and simple ways we can all reduce our risk of falling and stay steady on our feet.

Neil Williams from Care & Repair Cymru, and Chair of the National Taskforce on Falls Prevention said:  “Care & Repair is delighted to work with Age Cymru and Age Connects to jointly brand this Wales-wide focus on falls prevention: coordinating an All Wales campaign of activities that focuses on the key themes of the Ageing Well in Wales’ ‘Steady on, Stay Safe’ public awareness activity endorsed by the Commissioner for Older People”.

He continued: “Anyone can have a fall, but falls are not an inevitable part of growing older”. There are simple ways we can prevent falling whatever our age, and we want to highlight, not only the risks to look out for, but the possible solutions available.”

For many older people, arthritic joints and tough overgrown toenails make wearing shoes and walking almost impossible.  Across Wales, organisations like Age Connects and Age Cymru provide affordable, toe-nail cutting services in community clinics and in people’s homes.  

Rachel Rowlands of Age Connects Wales commented “87% of people who used nail-cutting services said they felt at less risk of falling and felt more confident after using the service. Most of us don’t really give a lot of thought to having our toe-nails cut but for older people and those who have restricted movement, getting their toe-nails cut can be a very important aspect of their healthcare.” 

Angharad Phillips from Age Cymru said: “Working in partnership is a great opportunity for the three charities to reach all older people across Wales with our message that ‘falls is not an inevitable part of growing older’.

“There are many reasons why older people can fall and falls can have a devastating and life-changing impact, but falls are preventable. As we age we experience changes to our physical state and general de conditioning, loss of bone and muscle mass. Restricting our movement and lack of physical activity can lead to further de-conditioning and poor muscle function so it’s important to keep moving little and often, seated or standing.

“Age Cymru has physical activity programmes for all abilities, LIFT (Low Impact Functional Training), a gentle seated and standing exercise, Nordic Walking and is developing Tai Chi for health.”

Care & Repair Cymru, Age Cymru and Age Connects Wales are co-hosting events across Wales during the week. The events will be a drop-in style for everyone, the public and professionals alike, as preventing falls should be everyone’s business and responsibility and share the key message: ‘falling is not an inevitable part of growing older. Falling is preventable.’ 

Many home adaptations are available to help prevent older people from falling. Anyone needing help to adapt their home should contact their local Care & Repair Agency on 0300 111 3333

For more information on local nail clipping services contact Age Connects Wales on 01443 490650

For more information and for a copy of Age Cymru’s ‘Avoiding slips, trips and falls’ booklet contact Age Cymru Advice on 08000 223 444