RoSPA is using the final day of its first-ever Family Safety Week to inspire the nation to take practical action to keep older friends and relatives from falling.
While the consequences of a slip, trip or fall are minor in many cases, for older people particularly, the consequences can be serious and life-changing.
In 2012, 4,674 people died as a result of a fall in the UK, of whom 85 per cent were over the age of 65. What’s more, in England in 2012/13, more than 410,000 people were admitted to hospital following a fall.
Simple tips to prevent falls include:
- Removing tripping hazards from the floor, such as clutter, electrical cords and wires
- Providing adequate lighting throughout the house but particularly on stairways and in halls
- Using a bedside lamp for when you get up during the night
- Using a non-slip bath mat and wiping up any spills immediately
- Taking exercise classes that improve balance and strength
- Wearing shoes and slippers that fit properly and are sturdy
- Getting medication checked every six months by your GP or pharmacist, as people are far more likely to be at risk if they take four or more types of medication per day
- Having a plan in place to alert friends, family or emergency services.
Family Safety Week was launched by Martin Roberts, the star of BBC1’s Homes Under the Hammer, in Birmingham, on Monday.
Founded by the UK’s top safety charity, the week reaches its conclusion today. Each day has had a different theme: looking around the home from a child’s point of view; learning to swim; helping learner drivers; becoming safer drivers at work; and, today, falls prevention. Advice and information on all of these subjects is available at www.familysafetyweek.org.uk.
People can still get involved in Family Safety Week by:
- Taking the Pledge: “This Family Safety Week, I pledge to take steps to prevent myself, or a loved one, from falling”
- Taking part in the online National Accident Survey. This will give a much-needed snapshot of how accidents affect families and the help they need to prevent them
- Sharing safety advice with friends, family and colleagues via social media, and downloading a Twibbon to show support on Twitter
- Hosting a safety session that focuses on one (or more) of the week’s themes.
Sheila Merrill, RoSPA’s public health adviser, said: “Every year, falls kill thousands of people and leave many more with life-changing injuries.
“A lot of older people never fully recover from either the physical or psychological impact of a fall. We know that risk increases with age, and that half of older people cannot live independently after suffering a fracture. The cost to the individuals, their families and society is enormous.
“By encouraging people to take the Family Safety Week pledge, and by providing lots of simple, practical advice, we can help to ensure that the ones we love stay healthy and happy – and safely on their feet.”
Accidents are the UK’s biggest killer of children and the leading cause of death up to the age of 39. They are the top cause of early, preventable death for most of our lives. They are also responsible for millions of injuries every year, placing an unbearable strain on families, the NHS and employers.
RoSPA has been at the heart of accident prevention for almost 100 years. It exists to save lives and reduce injuries in the home, on the roads, during leisure, at work and in schools and colleges.
This year’s Family Safety Week is sponsored by Royal Mail.