Senior citizens are fighting back against falls. To mark National Falls Awareness Day today. Glaswegians over the age of 65 are taking exercise classes, dancing lessons and other steps to prevent serious falls which could result in death.
Falling over at home is the number one cause of accidental death among older people in Scotland, and the number one cause of unplanned hospital admission. As the annual focus on preventing these accidents is marked by exercise, dancing and a Reunion Day for former patients, the message is that falls can be prevented.
Leader of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde's Home Falls Prevention Programme, Greg de Mello, says injuries don't have to be inevitable: "It used to be the general perception that people tended to fall over more as they got older, and that's all there was to it. But nowadays we know how serious falls are and, most importantly of all, we know they can be prevented by taking simple steps to improve your strength and balance.
"You don't have to accept your mobility will be reduced just because you're older – there's plenty you can do to stop it. We can teach people all sorts of ways to keep fit and strong and it's great fun and could possibly even help save your life in the long run."
88-year-old Nessie Hay from Parkhouse was helped by the Home Falls Prevention Programme earlier this year. Mrs Hay believes the Programme made a huge difference: "I thought the team were just wonderful and the service really helped me. I was treated after suffering a fall, and I got so much out of the classes and the one-to-one treatment. They even gave me exercises I could do by myself at home, too, so I'm now so much steadier on my feet.."
The Reunion Day is being held at Glasgow's Fred Paton Centre, run by Glasgow Old People's Welfare Association. The Association's Director Sheena Glass hopes more older people will heed the "prevention is best" message: "Working together with the Home Falls Prevention Programme means the older people of Glasgow are provided with a first-class service. Not only that, using our Fred Paton Centre means the older people are included in a social network and are out there having fun."
The Home Falls Prevention Programme aims to prevent further falls by providing a comprehensive falls screening service, health education, exercise, rehabilitation and onward referral. The service is available to individuals over the age of 65, who live at home and have had a fall within the last year.
·Please assemble at 1100 at the reception area of the Fred Paton Centre, 19 Carrington Street, Glasgow. G4 9AJ.
·For more information, please contact NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Communications on 0141 201 4429.