Building on past successes and aligned with prudent healthcare approaches, we are putting our older citizens at the heart of #FallsAwareness2021 week. Our campaign is called Steady on Stay Safe. This is a systematic, public health approach based on similar, very successful, attempts at reaching as many older people in the community as can be reached, comparable to community deployment in Canterbury New Zealand. Evidence from studies in the Southern Hemisphere indicate a 25-30% reduction in the incidence of falls that require health intervention.
Falls Awareness More Important Than Ever
Covid-19 has impacted on all our lives in so many ways but for the most vulnerable the impacts have been devastating. The Stay at Home and Stay Safe messages have been critical to the success of the public health campaign to fight the virus but have had a significant impact on the wellbeing of many sections of society and particularly older people. It’s important to recognise that there has been a significant increase in mental health and loneliness due to social isolation, and levels of deconditioning have occurred associated with a sedentary Stay at Home message.
Research undertaken by the Centre for Ageing Better and the Kings Fund, including experiences shared through the National Prudent Healthcare Falls Prevention Taskforce state:
- Data have shown a huge decrease in A&E attendances, with a 42% drop in May 2020 compared with May 2019. There have also been decreases in the number of GP appointments.
- The Welsh Ambulance Trust have seen significant reductions in frequent faller episodes over the most intense ‘lockdown’ periods and even when they have been called out, there has been a reluctance to go to hospital.
- 67% of over-65s are living with one or more serious long-term health conditions which, if left untreated, are more likely to get worse more quickly.
- 65% – over two thirds of people say concerns about the coronavirus are making them minimise all interaction with others, even where the rules allow it.
- 53% – over half of UK adults agree that a reduction in social contact during lockdown has made their life harder.
- Nearly a third of adults in Britain (31%) reported having physical or mental health problems because of the condition of their homes during lockdown.
Steady on Stay Safe: Falls are not an inevitable consequence of growing older!
Remember: falls are everyone’s business, don’t delay, ask the question today!