We need to talk about falls

More than half of the over 85s and a third of the over 65s in Wales suffer a fall each year

With more than half of the over 85s and a third of the over 65s in Wales suffering a fall each year, three leading Welsh charities are coming together to tackle what has become the biggest cause of injury related deaths and hospital admissions for older people.

Age Cymru, Age Connects Wales, and Care & Repair Cymru will be marking 26 February – 4 March as Falls Awareness Week.  The three charities will be asking people to share their experiences of falls, and urging older people not to let the fear of losing their independence stop them from talking to someone. 

Neil Williams from Care & Repair Cymru who chairs the National Task Force on Falls says: “Talking openly about a fallcan help to identify the cause and often lead to a simple solution. Whilst we can’t stop the ageing process, we can counter some of the effects of ageing with a few minor tweaks to our lifestyle. Most falls can be prevented without having to stay indoors or cut back on normal activities.” 

Age Cymru’s Health Initiatives Officer Angharad Phillips explains “Suffering a fall can have a huge detrimental effect on an older person’s quality of life, often leading them to withdrawing from every day activities and developing mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and loneliness.  The first step to preventing a fall is to talk about falls and the fear of falling.”

Rachel Rowlands from Age Connects Wales added: “Our three Wales-wide charities all provide advice and support services which help to prevent falls,allowing older people to live independently, and safely, in their own homes.By working together we hope to get out the message that falls are not an inevitable part of ageing.“

The three key messages the charities are promoting throughout Falls Awareness Week are:

 If you’ve fallen, or fear falling, and don’t know what to do talk to someone you trust.

 Core strength and balance is key.  Try to take some gentle exercise to stay active and strong.

 Be aware of trip hazards and poor lighting around your home and try to rectify them.  And don’t forget to take care of your feet and avoid “sloppy slippers”