The Inequalities in Health Behaviours Research suggests that:
- Rates of smoking among people aged 50+ are similar in NI (18%) and ROI (17%)
- Low levels of physical activity are more common among people aged 50+ in NI (54%) than in ROI (30%)
- The proportion of older people who drink 5-7 days per week is higher in ROI (10%) than in NI (6%)
- In the population aged 50+ smoking rates are higher in both NI and ROI among those on low incomes
- Regular Alcohol consumption is more common among those on high incomes.
- People aged 50+ who are widowed, separated/divorced or never married are more likely to smoke and to have low levels of physical activity, particularly in NI
- Being unemployed/disabled is a major factor in both smoking and low physical activity in both ROI and NI
Preventing Falls in Later Years
Older people are more likely to attend Accident and Emergency Departments with injuries as a direct result of falls in the home.
Tips to help reduce falls at home:
- Keep the hall and stairs well-lit at night
- Turn on the light if you have to get up during the night
- Change the layout of the room or get someone to move bulky furniture if it keeps getting in the way
- Clutter and mess in your home causes falls, tidy your floors, especially the stairs and halls
- Lift mats or rugs if they are frayed or turned up at the edges and make sure the mat has a non-slip backing
- Slippers that are not the correct fit and high heeled shoes can cause falls
- Don’t take any unnecessary risks at home – ask others to help
- Use non-slip mats in the bath or shower
- Keep the garden and outside paths clutter free
- Get your eyesight tested once a year
- Have your medication checked regularly by your GP or pharmacist
- Eat a balanced diet that includes calcium and vitamin D to keep bones strong
- Keep active to reduce your risk of falling
An A4 full picture information sheet has been developed, called ‘The up and about Plan’ shows what to do if you have a fall.
The Falls Prevention Checklist booklet that was developed by the Western Falls Prevention Steering Group in 2017 with the assistance of a service user, Knox Wilson has been updated and relaunched this week to mark Falls Prevention Week. The checklist helps older people to identify specific environmental hazards within the home which could cause them to fall and provides practical advice on measures that can be put in place to eliminate these hazards and reduce the risk of falls.
About one third of people over 65 fall each year, with higher rates for over 75s. Up to 20 per cent of falls require medical attention. Falls make up half of the hospital admissions for accidental injury, especially hip fractures. Half of the falls reported by older people follow a trip or an accident. Some 90 per cent of hip fractures are caused by a fall. Around 50 per cent of falls are preventable.
The Western Falls Prevention Steering Group was set up in 2012 and is a multi-sectoral group that has a focus on falls prevention within the home for the over 65s, it is chaired and coordinated by Sandra Semple, Health Improvement, Involvement and Equality Department. The group has also developed a ‘Falls are Preventable’ information booklet which has basic information on how to prevent falls within the home.
The Falls Prevention Checklist complements this booklet. For further information or to obtain the booklets contact Sandra.email@example.com.
Click here to view the Falls Checklist.
Tips to Help Reduce Falls at Home
Keep the hall and stairs well-lit at night
Turn on the light if you have to get up during the night
Change the layout of the room or get someone to move bulky furniture if it keeps getting in the way
Clutter and mess in your home causes falls, tidy your floors, especially the stairs and halls.
Lift mats or rugs if they are frayed or turned up at the edges and make sure the mat has a non-slip backing
Slippers that are not the correct fit and heels that are high, can cause falls
Don’t take any unnecessary risks at home – ask others to help.
Use non-slip mats in the bath or shower.
Keep the garden and outside paths clutter free.
Get your eyesight tested once a year.
Have your medication checked regularly by your GP or pharmacist.
Eat a balanced diet that includes calcium and vitamin D to keep bones strong.
Keep Active, exercise is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of falling.
Eat Well in Later Years
As people get older their nutritional requirements change. For further information go to the Eat Well section.
Be Active in Later Years
Physical activity can help you stay fit and healthy as you get older. Many adults aged 65 and over spend, on average, 10 hours or more sitting or lying down every day. As you get older, it becomes even more important to remain active if you want to stay healthy and maintain your independence. For further information go to the Be Active section.
Training and Resources
Additional information on staying healthy in later years can be found below:
- Fold telecare
- Age NI
- The National Osteoporosis Society
- Drink Wise Age Well Programme
- Over 65 Falls Prevention, ‘Stepping On’ Programme
- Home Safety
Falls Prevention Video
Royal Osteoporosis Society
The Royal Osteoporosis Society has exercise programmes available on their website specifically for people with osteoporosis.
With all exercise videos where people have not been assessed for suitability of exercise video it is important to to advise people to work at your own level of ability so as not to put yourself at risk. Be sure to do exercises in a suitable environment to ensure that environment does not increase risk of falls and / or injury.
AGE NI – Make Movement your Mission
Age NI has produced an exercise programme aimed specifically at keeping older people moving during the extended COVID lockdown. It involves a series of 5 exercise videos to cater for every level of capability, ranging from simple seated stretches, to balance, strength and gentle aerobic exercises suited to older people
Move with Mary – Session 1 Warm Up and Cool Down
Move with Mary – Session 2 Sitting exercises
Move with Mary – Session 3 Standing Exercises 1
Move with Mary – Session 4 Standing 2
Move with Mary – Session 5 Aerobic