Inactive seniors at higher risk of falls

26 January 2017 08:19

40% of over-70s  underestimate the importance an active life has in warding off falls

40% of over-70s underestimate the importance an active life has in warding off falls

Older people should aim to be more active to reduce the number of falls they experience, experts are claiming.

Four in 10 people aged 70 and over underestimate the importance strength and balance has in warding off falls, according to the Centre for Ageing Better.

Louise Ansari, programme director for physical activity at the Centre for Ageing Better, said: "People can improve their own strength and balance by doing more activities like carrying shopping and doing the gardening as well as exercise like dance and tai chi."

Professor Kevin Fenton, Public Health England's national director for health and wellbeing, says that around a third of people aged 65 and over and half of those aged 80 and over experience a fall each year.

He said: "It's vital that as people get older, they get the support to stay healthy and maintain their strength and balance through being physically active."

An NHS warning

According to the NHS website, the over-65s are the most sedentary age group, with many spending on average 10 hours or more each day sitting or lying down.

"As people get older and their bodies decline in function, physical activity helps to slow that decline," says Dr Nick Cavill, a health promotion consultant.

Travelling and activity holidays are one way for older people to remain active, and over-65s should always take out senior travel insurance when going abroad.

The NHS also says there's strong evidence that people who are active have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, depression and dementia.

'A sad state of affairs'

Louise Ansari, programme director for physical activity at the Centre for Ageing Better, said: "It is a sad state of affairs that there are over 250,000 emergency admissions of older people to hospital for falls every year, when so many falls and fractures could be prevented by simple exercises that improve people's strength and balance."

"The NHS and local authorities can help to prevent falls by commissioning evidence based services that improve strength and balance and making them available to those most at risk."

Ms Ansari's comments come as health and care officials are to publish a Falls and Fracture Consensus Statement that outlines the actions of health, care, housing and social teams can undertake to reduce the number of falls in seniors.

 

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