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Council gets ‘Up and About’ for Falls Prevention Week

Professor John Howarth

Cumbria County Council’s ‘Up and About’ campaign is back for this year’s Falls Prevention Week which runs from 24 – 30 September. As always, the campaign focuses on being proactive about raising awareness of the preventative measures that people can take to reduce falls, particularly for those who are most at risk.

Key to this year’s campaign is a packed schedule of events taking place across Cumbria for people worried about falling or at risk – the events will provide an opportunity to speak to professionals from the county council and Age UK for advice on reducing falls, there will be top-tips goody bags, medication reviews, strength and balance taster sessions and sloppy slipper exchanges where people can swap their old slippers for new slip resistant ones for free.

Dates and locations for over 20 events across the county can be found here: www.cumbria.gov.uk/upandabout.

Councillor Deborah Earl, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Community Services, said: “Falling is a terrible thing for anyone, but as we get older they can begin to take their toll and lead to a loss of confidence, independence and worst of all they’re a big cause of hospital admissions and can result in serious injuries and long-term complications.

“I welcome this latest campaign and the ongoing work of our Public Health teams, Fire Service and partners to raise awareness of ways to prevent falls to keep us all up and about.”

Latest figures show that the North West has some of the highest numbers of emergency hospital admissions due to falls in people aged 65 and over. In 2016/17 there were approximately 30,000 emergency hospital admissions for falls in people aged 65 and over in the North West region.

According to Public Health England, the highest risk of falls is in those aged 65 and above and it is estimated that nearly 1 in 3 people aged 65 and above living at home and about half of people aged 80 and above living at home or in residential care will experience a fall at least once a year. Falls that results in injury can be very serious, approximately 1 in 20 older people living in the community experience a fracture or need hospitalisation after a fall.

Colin Cox, Cumbria County Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “Falls and fractures are a common and serious health issue faced by older people, there are a large number of risk factors and the vast majority of falls could be prevented with some fairly modest changes to our lifestyle and homes.

“We want every older person to have the best opportunity to live and age well without fear of falling and injury.”

Professor John Howarth, deputy chief executive at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Falls are one of the leading causes of injury in adults over 65 but are often preventable. It’s great that so many events are planned to raise awareness across Cumbria of the small changes people can make – something as simple as a change of slippers can make all the difference.

“We’re working together across the health and care system to help people stay well and falls prevention is an area of focus. We have introduced new roles to help us identify those who are at risk of a fall to provide more support through the development of Integrated Care Communities. We hope that by joining forces we can reduce the number of falls across the region and ensure they are not seen as an inevitable part of aging.”

Prevention is better than cure and the campaign will promote some top tips for staying steady, including:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Check your eyes and hearing
  • Ask your pharmacist to review any medicines or prescriptions
  • Take calcium for strong bones
  • Take vitamin D to support the body absorb calcium
  • Check your home for hazards
  • Look after your feet
  • If you’ve had a fall or are worried about falling, tell your GP

The county council’s Fire and Rescue Service are pivotal in the prevention of falls and deliver a programme of free ‘Safe and Well’ visits which help people continue to live independently and deal with potential hazards in their homes. During a safe and well visit, fire service personnel will carry out a home safety assessment to look for common hazards including those which could cause falls. In addition, they will help design a fire escape plan so that homes know how to react and escape in the event of a fire. Since 2015, Cumbria Fire and Rescue service has conducted approximately 25,000 safe and well visits in homes, schools and businesses across Cumbria.

This year already they have conducted 4,528 and aim to have completed 10,000 by the end of December. Further information about safety in the home can be obtained by calling 0800 358 4777.

South Lakes

  • Tuesday 25 September – Windermere Library drop-in between 10am-12pm
  • Wednesday 26 September – Ambleside Parish Centre 11am-2pm
  • Thursday 27 September – Kendal Library Sloppy Slipper Swap 10am-12pm,
  • Friday 28 September – ASDA Kendal drop-in between 10am-2pm
  • Saturday 29 September – Arnside Community Wellbeing Event at Education Institute in Arnside 12pm-3pm
  • Saturday 29 September – Flu clinic Station House Surgery, Kendal drop-in between 6.30am-11am

Allerdale

  • Monday 24 September – Silloth Community Hall, Wigton Road, Silloth 1pm-3pm
  • Monday 24 September – Aspatria Library 2pm-4pm
  • Tuesday 25 September – Keswick Senior Citizens Club, Heads Road, Keswick 10am-12pm
  • Thursday 27 September – Seaton Library, Workington 10am-12pm
  • Thursday 27 September – Tea Dance (Age UK), Allhallows Community Centre, Fletchertown 3pm-4.30pm
  • Friday 28 September – Castlegate and Derwent Surgery Cockermouth 2pm-4pm

Carlisle and Eden

  • Saturday 22 September – The ‘Over 50s Day’ at Rheged Penrith 10am-4pm
  • Tuesday 25 September – Dementia Café @ Penrith Hub 1.30pm-2.30pm
  • Tuesday 25 September – Bolton in Appleby Exchange 3pm-4pm
  • Tuesday 25 September – Penrith Library 2pm-4pm (advice session only)
  • Wednesday 26 September at Kirkby Stephen Library 2pm-4pm
  • Thursday 27 September – Carlisle Library 1pm-4pm
  • Friday 28 September at Appleby Library 10am-12pm

Barrow

  • Friday 28 September – Greengate School 10am (as part of their coffee morning)
  • Wednesday 3 October – Barrow Market Foyer 10am-12pm
  • Thursday 4 October – Barrow Library 1.30pm-4pm (as part of their coffee afternoon)

Copeland

  • Tuesday 25 September – The Bradbury Centre, St George’s Road, Millom 11am-2pm
  • Friday 28 September – Egremont Library 10am-3pm

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