Simple steps to prevent falls

Around one-third of over 65s in Nottinghamshire suffer a fall each year and the local NHS is encouraging people to take simple steps to prevent them.

NHS Nottinghamshire County is supporting Falls Awareness Week from 20-24 June 2011, and wants older people to know how they can avoid slips, trips and falls in their home.

Around 40,000 over 65s from Nottinghamshire will fall each year and half of those never regain full independence. It is estimated to cost the NHS and social care around £1.8 billion per year in the UK, this equates to around £13 million annually to NHS Nottinghamshire County.

There are a number of simple steps people can follow to help prevent a fall.

Firstly, healthy eating is important to keep bones and muscles strong. Make sure you are eating enough calcium (milk, cheese and yogurt) and Vitamin D (oily fish, wholegrain cereals and eggs). Another source of Vitamin D is sunlight on skin, so try to spend 30 minutes outside each day outside, between now and September. Remember to use sun cream.

Looking after your feet and shoes can also help reduce the risk of a fall. Check that you have the right sized shoes; cramped feet do not allow you to walk naturally. Also, avoid standing on one leg when putting shoes on because there is a greater risk of falling; sit down instead.

Regular exercise is important, and a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate exercise such as walking, at least three to four times a week is recommended.

Nikki Hughes, falls lead for NHS Nottinghamshire County said: “Too many elderly people in Nottinghamshire fall and fracture their hip. By taking these simple steps you can avoid a fall in later life and maintain your independence.

“If anyone has had a recent fall or are worried they may fall, they should contact their doctor or practice nurse for advice”.