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New Zealand launches campaign to protect elderly from falls

26th April 2017

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

April Falls’ is the tongue in cheek title for the campaign that is set to spend the month raising awareness about the danger of falls among the elderly. Though many people are aware of the dangers of falling later in life, very few take any preventative measures, waiting until they have fallen as opposed to taking active efforts against falling.

Not only is ‘April Falls’ dedicated to increasing awareness of the dangers, it also gives examples of how to prevent it and actions to take against falling including eye checks, balance exercises and de-cluttering your home. They also include some daunting facts on falls within New Zealand, including one in three people over 65 will suffer falls, this increases to one in two over the age of 80. 

 

This campaign mirrors the findings of a report from the US about increased risk of brain damage as a result of elderly falls. CDC’s investigation into falls in the population over the age of 65 ascribes reduced muscle mass as one of the main causes for increased rates of falling, others are blaming stronger medication for the increase. A study from BMC Geriatrics took a cross section of over 75’s and assessed the number of falls and the medication they were prescribed. After assessing the medication and cross-referencing it with a list The Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare created to include drugs that are described as Fall Risk Increasing Drugs (FRIDs), BMC Geriatrics found a correlation with those suffering the most falls and the amount of FRIDs prescribed.

‘April Falls’ efforts towards preventative measures have not gone unnoticed, with increased interest in yoga, pilates and other balance exercises in the older generation. There are strong hope that with increased awareness and better education, as well a simple actions to make home safer, whether through reducing clutter and trip hazards, or installing mobility accessories, the cost of a stairlift is little to a loss of independence and mobility.