Yesterday I attended a Falls Awareness Day run by Age UK Barnet, and sponsored by Home Instead Barnet. Talks by a podiatrist, occupational therapist and dietician were interspersed with exercise demonstrations, from dance to tai chi.
Falls are a serious issue. 1 in 3 people over 65 fall each year, rising to 1 in 2 over 85s. 10-25% of ambulance call outs in over 65s are for falls and 50% of hospital admissions for accidental injury.
Hip fractures are one of the most serious problems. Half of people who suffer one never regain their former level of function after a hip fracture and 1 in 5 will die within 3 months. Hip fractures cost the NHS and social care £2 billion a year, about £6 million a day.
Behind these figures there is pain, fear, loss of confidence and increasing isolation for many older people.
The good news is that there is a lot you can do to prevent falls – wear sensible shoes, get your toenails cut regularly (30% of older people can’t cut their own toenails, but Age UK Barnet can help with this), remove trip hazards in your home (the handyperson scheme can help), use a walking aid, get your eyes tested, take regular exercise (again Age UK Barnet can help), and make sure you keep hydrated and eat a good diet, with plenty of protein and calcium (Age UK Barnet have an Eat Well project which can help). Oh, and hassle the council to keep pavements in good repair.
Strategies like these can reduce the risk of falling by 10-30%.
There are photos of the day here
The ladies in purple are the lovely Raunchy Rockers, shaking it out to Thriller, in honour of Halloween.
And so, with a suitably clunky link, from the serious issues of falls, to the less serious issue of pratfalls and slapstick, because it is not just artists who have donated cards to Age UK Barnet. You will be able to pick up postcards from some very funny comedians.
With many thanks to Jeremy Hardy, David Schneider, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, Noel Fielding, and Sara Pascoe, who have all generously offered to contribute. If you are a fan, then come along and see if you can spot their cards.
The sale will be on 23 November in the old Mr Simms shop in North Finchley, 781 High Road, N12 8JY.