My wife attended her local NHS walk-in centre last week as her foot was really painful and had become swollen and bruised after one of her running sessions. She was duly diagnosed with ligamentitis – she was told its a very common condition in runners, caused mainly by runners slipping off curbs! She cant run for a few weeks which means she is not too happy!
But that brings us nicely to the Falls Awareness Week 2013, a brilliant campaign organised by AgeUK, the charity that’s the result of the merger between Age Concern and Help the Aged.
Did you know?
- 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 fall each year using 1.5 million hospital bed days.
- 50% of people over 80 will fall in the next 12 months
- 9% of older people who fall become afraid to leave their home again
- There are nearly 14,000 hip fracture-related deaths each year.
The theme of the campaign this year is Healthy Feet. Unhealthy feet can dramatically raise the risk of falling, with the following of primary concern:
- Foot Pain
- Stiffness in toes and ankles
- Foot and toe weakness including bunions
- Toenail disorders
- Loose-fitting footwear.
The campaign aims to highlight the need for older people to find ways to regularly exercise as this builds leg strength and improves balance. In addition, the issue of poor footwear will be shown to be a real problem, with AgeUK suggesting the following when choosing footwear:
- Choose shoes with a high back collar
- A hard slip-resistant sole
- Heels less than 2cm.
Linked with good shoes is the need to care for our feet regularly. On top of checking feet regularly, older people should:
- Wash and dry feet regularly
- Apply moisturiser
- Cut toenails
Many of our clients at Telecare24 contact us initially when they or a relative have suffered a fall. Very often, relatives contact us to get a careline installed as their older parent is returning home from the hospital. Whilst a regular pendant alarm is a great idea to summon help there are other accessories to consider if you are purchasing a careline alarm for someone at risk of falling.
We would strongly recommend that if you are concerned about a relative falling and want a personal alarm, then speak to one of our advisors about a fall sensor. It works in exactly the same way as a normal pendant alarm, in fact, if you use a fall sensor, you don’t need to wear both as the fall sensor acts as a pendant alarm as well.
The fall sensor has an accelerator built inside, so it can determine if the user suffers a fall and dials our 24/7 careline monitoring centre without the user having to push the pendant. This is a great idea, especially when you take into consideration that many people naturally put out their hands when falling, with many older people suffering fractured wrists and therefore may find it too painful to press their alarm.
In addition, many clients suffer a bang to the head and maybe unconscious for a while after a fall, thereby being unable to press their normal pendant alarm. However, if they use a fall sensor, there would be no need to worry as the fall sensor will automatically dial our call centre and an operator can summon immediate assistance.
Falls Awareness Week may be a great opportunity to chat to any older people you may know, perhaps friends or relatives who may benefit from the fact sheet. You may also take the opportunity to have a chat about personal alarms and fall sensors to see how they may help them get around their home without the worry of falling over. I may even get one for my wife when she goes out running next!