Older people urged to get active to prevent falls

Older people urged to get active to prevent falls

Physiotherapists are calling on older people to take action now that could prevent potentially devastating falls in the future.

One-third of people who suffer a hip fracture die within a year and falls are the leading cause of accident-related mortality in older people.

In addition to the human cost, falls account for £1.7bn of the NHS budget each year.

But new advice from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) aims to combat the perception that falls are an inevitable part of the ageing process.

The CSP is launching a leaflet, ‘Your Generation’, which outlines the everyday steps people can take to reduce the chances of a fall, along with information about the preventative services physiotherapy staff provide.

The advice includes:

–          How to get the right mix of exercise (aerobic, weight-bearing, strength and stretching) along with examples of activities that can help achieve this, such as swimming, cycling and Pilates.

–          The steps to take around the home to stay safe, including making sure that you wear appropriate footwear to avoid trips and slips.

–          Specialist physiotherapist guidance on how to get up again in the event of a fall.

Prof Karen Middleton, chief executive of the CSP, said:

“Falls can have a devastating impact on a person’s life but many are preventable.

“We need to get past the idea that as people get older they should slow down and take it easy, because being physically active is central to reducing the chances of a fall.

“Physiotherapy staff support this by educating people about how to minimise the risks of a fall, along with delivering classes that improve strength, balance and general wellbeing.

“These services combined with active lifestyles help people retain their independence and lead full and active lives.”

The leaflet is free and can be downloaded from 1st October 2014 at www.csp.org.uk/livelong