A leading national expert on falls prevention will be sharing her expertise at a special event open to everyone in Swindon next week.
Professor Dawn Skelton is part of the Steady Steps to an Active Life event organised by the council and Swindon Clinical Commissioning Group, which takes place at the fire station, in Drove Road, on Wednesday 5 October, from 10am until 3pm.
Dawn Skelton, Professor of Ageing and Health at Glasgow Caledonian University, said: “There is a hip fracture every 10 minutes in the UK, yet falls are preventable. Many people think that frailty and falls are an inevitable consequence of getting older, but there are many things we can do to reduce the risk of ending up in hospital due to a fall or fracture.”
There will be information stalls on a wide range of issues and opportunities related to having a healthy lifestyle and ageing well. People can find out about various local exercise classes, such as Tai Chi and yoga, which are proven to help maintain and improve balance and strength. They are also invited to try their hand at indoor bowls, croquet, walking netball or football, as well as have a go on special adaptive bikes which are suitable for all abilities.
Professor Skelton added: “Types of strength and balance exercise in particular can give a major boost to an older person, not only reducing their risk of a future fall but also improving their ability to maintain independence, do the things they want to do and stay involved in their local communities. If someone you know has a fall and injury the first question they should ask is “what can I do to stop this happening again?”
Swindon has around 33,000 people aged 65 and above and, based on national estimates, 11,360 people will fall each year – with 4,900 falling twice. Last year falls resulted in 1,757 local hospital admissions for people aged 50 or above.
Nearly 95% of all hip fractures are caused by falls. Some 80% of people who break a hip are still unable to carry out daily tasks, such as shopping, gardening or even climbing the stairs, a year after the fracture. This has huge implications for health and social care needs and it’s estimated that hip fractures alone account for £6million per day in UK hospital and social care costs.
The Council’s Health Ambassadors will be on hand with information and advice about how to stay active and enjoy a balanced diet. Whilst browsing the stalls, people will be able to pick up information about preventing falls, the Safe and Warm Scheme, and the My Care My Support website – available at www.mycaremysupport.co.uk. There will also be an opportunity to pick up the new Swindon ‘Steady Steps to Staying Active for Life’ booklet which gives people some hints and tips to keep active and healthy and reduce the risk of falling.
Cllr Brian Ford, Swindon Borough Council Cabinet Member for Adults’ Health and Social Care, said: “This promises to be a fantastic event, which everyone is very welcome to attend. Prevention is better than cure and that’s certainly the case with falls, which are hugely debilitating and have a huge impact on a person’s life as well as that of their family. It’s a subject particularly close to my heart because my mother had a bad fall when she was 80, which left her bed-bound. Sadly she never recovered and died three months later.
“I hope as many people as possible come along to find out about the often simple measures we can all take to not only be safer on our feet, but also more active, healthier and happier now and in future years.”
Free refreshments will be served and no booking is required.