Falls and fractures are a common and serious health issue faced by older people in England. People aged 65 and older have the highest risk of falling; around a third of people aged 65 and over, and around half of people aged 80 and over, fall at least once a year. Falling is a cause of distress, pain, injury, loss of confidence, loss of independence and mortality. Falls are the number one reason why older people are taken to hospital emergency departments.
The number of people aged 60 years or over in the United Kingdom (UK) is expected to exceed 20 million by 2030, with the number of people aged 65 years or over being projected to rise by 48.7% in the next 20 years to over 16 million. Furthermore, the number of people aged over 85 years in the UK is predicted to double in the next 20 years and nearly treble in the next 30 years (Age UK 2014, Office for National Statistics) Each year 35% of people aged 65 and over will fall one or more times. Moreover, 45% of those in the 80 years and over age group, who live in the community, fall each year.
Health conditions, mobility, medication and footwear can all affect your ability to stay steady on your feet. Health conditions can change and deteriorate gradually so it is important to have regular check ups at your GP surgery to avoid a fall happening.
Most slips and falls happen in and around the home. An Occupational Therapist can carry out a home visit and assess you and your home environment, identifying risks and hazards and making recommendations for making your home a safer place.
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