A series of online strength and balance sessions for people in later life are being arranged to tackle falls – a leading cause of fatal and serious accidents in the home – as part of a partnership between the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and insurer RSA Group.
Falls are by far the biggest cause of both accidental injuries and deaths among over-65s. Of the more than 9,000
accidental deaths in this age group in 2018/19, 60 per cent were as a result of a fall, while 80 per cent of hospital admissions caused by accidents were due to falls, with a large proportion of these being falls at home.
About a third of all people aged over-65 fall each year, increasing to half of those aged 80 and over. Many people in later life who suffer from falls never fully recover from either the physical or psychological impact of their injuries.
RoSPA and RSA will host two online sessions on Monday on November 30. The sessions are aimed at people in later life, their families and falls prevention practitioners in Birmingham and the surrounding area, although those living elsewhere will also be able to sign up.
Regular light activity and movement throughout your day, coupled with some specific exercises that help to improve strength and balance, can be helpful in preventing falls. While structured exercise programmes that are individualised to the person and progress in challenge over time offer the greatest benefits, there are lots of things you can do at home to start to improve your strength and balance. There are options for doing exercises in a seated or standing position, and you don’t need any specialist equipment or kit.
Later Life Training, who are experts in strength and balance, will give an introduction to these movements, which are accessible for people at all levels of fitness, during the free-to-attend roadshows. Bex Townley, from Later Life Training, and Prof Dawn Skelton, from Later Life Training and Glasgow Caledonian University, will be on hand to answer questions from the public and practitioners during the sessions. Free falls prevention resources which are available to everyone via an online information hub –have also been produced for the project, including “how to” videos about preventing falls, fires and other home accidents, safety checklists and a series of strength and balance demo videos from Later Life Training.
Ashley Martin, RoSPA’s public health adviser, said: “Experiencing a fall in the homecan be fatal in some instances, but for others can have an impact on their quality of life long after the bruises heal.
“Specific strength and balance exercises can be helpful in preventing falls This is why RoSPA and RSA are working together to provide free falls prevention resources and five days’ worth of online strength and balance sessions which will help people in later life stay on their feet and promote wellbeing.
“To join a strength and balance session, you will just need a computer, tablet or phone and a stable internet connection. We’d love to see you there.”
Karl Helgesen, chief claims officer for RSA, said: “We’re in the business of managing risk, and helping make people’s futures the best they can be – so I’m really pleased that we’re working with RoSPA on this online information hub. The safety advice, free materials such as a falls prevention checklist, and instructional videos about how to make your home safer are all really useful pieces of advice and I’d encourage everyone to take a look – as little changes today can mean a big difference down the line.”
Visit www.rospa.com/falls to register for one of the roadshows and to see the full range of free resources.