Falls Prevention Awareness Week
September 13, 2023
18-22 September 2023 is Falls Prevention Awareness Week.
In the UK, around 1 in 3 adults over 65 and half of people over 80 will have at least one fall a year. Most falls do not result in serious injury. But there's always a risk that a fall could lead to broken bones, and it can cause the person to lose confidence, become withdrawn, and feel as if they have lost their independence.
Falls and fractures in older people are often preventable. Reducing falls and fractures is important for maintaining the health, wellbeing and independence of older people. The causes of having a fall are multifactorial – a fall is the result of the interplay of multiple risk factors. These include:
- muscle weakness
- poor balance
- visual impairment
- polypharmacy – and the use of certain medicines
- environmental hazards
- some specific medical conditions, which might make a person more likely to fall
The likelihood and severity of injury resulting from an fall is related to a number of possible factors including bone health, risk of falls, frailty and low weight. Strong bones are important for your health. People with low bone mineral density are more likely to experience a fracture following a fall. It is therefore very important that all adults follow the Chief Medical Officer’s physical activity guidelines which include the recommendation to do activities to improve strength and balance at least twice a week.
Falls are not an inevitable part of ageing. If you're concerned about falling, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) recommends you seek a full and comprehensive falls assessment from a qualified healthcare professional.
A helpful resource is the Get up and go - a guide to staying steady booklet, published as part of Older People’s Day. Produced by CSP with Saga and Public Health England, the booklet tackles common myths about falling. A checklist helps you to decide whether you're at risk and there's plenty of advice on how you can reduce your chances of having a fall by improving your balance, muscle strength and more.