One in three adults aged over 65 in Salford will experience a fall at least once a year, according to figures released on Older People’s Day.
The stats show that Salford has the second highest rate of hospital admissions caused by falls in the country, with 11,667 falls each year – and falls can be lifechanging, costing people their health and independence.
The shock statistic comes as a new campaign is launched NHS Salford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Salford City Council and City West Housing Trust to help Salford residents stay safe.
It’s about encouraging people aged over 60 to make small, simple changes to their lifestyle and homes to reduce their risk of falling.
And as part of the campaign Salford residents have been telling their stories in a powerful video that shows the impact falls can have on people’s lives.
Don Donahugh, 88 from Eccles, fell in the bath after his shower rail broke. He said: “I was getting out of the bath when I fell. I got stuck and it was a real worry.”
Don has now been referred to free exercise classes run by Salford Community Leisure to help people recover from or prevent falls by improving posture, balance and strength.
Alexis Davis, who delivers the classes said: “After a fall people have reduced confidence regarding walking outside or they can feel unsteady. Exercise is a great way to reduce the chance of having further falls.”
Mr Donahugh said attending the classes has helped him after his fall. “I enjoy it,” he said. “It’s a good laugh. I decided that there’s no sense in rushing to do anything. You should just take your time and do what you are capable of.”
The campaign shines a spotlight on the simple steps older people can take to help to prevent falls, including wearing the correct footwear, taking exercise and checking for hazards in and out of the home. And it highlights the factors that can cause a fall including poor balance, vision problems, medications and drinking alcohol.
Jenny Chapman, Director of Health & Wellbeing at City West’s parent company ForViva, said: “The number of falls in Salford is much higher than the national average and the worst figure in Greater Manchester.
“We are proud to support this campaign with our partners to raise awareness of how simple steps can make a big difference to preventing trips and falls”.
“We are committed to enabling people to live longer, happier, more independent lives. Preventing trips and falls has a positive impact on people’s quality of life and reduce pressure on already stretched health and social care services.”
Dr Tom Tasker, Salford GP and chair of NHS Salford Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “A fall can happen in the blink of an eye but it can have devastating, life-changing consequences for older people and falls are the most common cause of death from injury in over 65s. But, while they can be caused by a range of reasons including medical conditions, lifestyle, poor eyesight and hazards such as ill-fitting shoes and slippery surfaces, falls are not inevitable. They can be prevented, especially with training to strengthen muscles and techniques to improve balance, while also reviewing medication and assessing hazards in the home.”
Councillor Tracy Kelly, lead member for adult services, health and wellbeing, said: “A fall can change people’s lives. It can take months to recover from injuries sustained in a fall and sadly some people never do. Even if people are not injured, falling can affect their confidence and lead them to restrict the things they do and become less independent for fear of further falls. This campaign is about showing there are simple ways to protect yourself from falls.”
Nationally, around 3,500 deaths were caused as a consequence of falling in 2009, and the NHS spends £15m annually on fall-related injuries with a further £2bn on hip fractures.