Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds We’re back with Julia again, and we’re going to learn even more about falls. So Julia, we see people once they’ve come to hospital, either because they’ve had an accident and they’ve come through casualty because of an injury, or because their GP has referred them in with some worrying features. But there will be plenty of people at home who are worried about falls or who have fallen, but who don’t go through the medical route. Is there anything that they could do by themselves to try and prevent more falls? Just sort of general advice. OK. I think you’re absolutely right. I think in hospital we see the tip of the iceberg.
Skip to 0 minutes and 51 seconds I strongly suspect there’s lots of people who are at home tripping up or actually falling over who don’t get in contact with doctors or end up coming into hospital. What those people can think about doing is trying to improve the way they walk, and usually that involves strengthening their lower limbs. We call that lower limb strengthening exercises. So keeping your legs active and investing in your legs and the muscles in your legs is really important. So I would strongly recommend that people try and keep active, try and keep going up and down stairs as much as they can, and doing exercises that strengthen their legs.
Skip to 1 minute and 33 seconds And if they want a specific falls programme, they could go somewhere like the Age UK website to get more information about strength and balance training. Yes, Age UK website is a really good source of information. So I would strongly recommend that people, if they’re able to, can go on the Age UK website. Or often in GP surgeries, there are booklets about falls prevention in health centres and things like that. There are exercise classes that people can now go to, of all ages. And these exercise classes, or recommended exercises, are better than other things, aren’t they?
Skip to 2 minutes and 10 seconds Because there’s been plenty of evidence, or research, into Tai Chi and falls, and it only really works for people who don’t really have a high falls risk in the first place. Yes, there is a little bit of evidence that Tai Chi is good, but you’re absolutely right. It tends to be fitter people who are able to participate completely with Tai Chi. Really, anything that you can do to invest in your legs, and it doesn’t have to involve going to expensive exercise classes or joining a gym, it can be as simple as going up and down a step a few times. Or just making sure that you have a walk. Go and get the paper.
Skip to 2 minutes and 47 seconds Take the dog out for a walk. Simple things that just keep you active and your legs moving. And then I guess there are other things that will seem common sense, but some people might forget. Such as their shoes or rugs on the floor. Yes, they’re notorious. And often people will describe in clinic that they’ve tripped over rugs or small pets– cats and dogs. We usually get one a month who has fallen over a cat or a dog. It’s really important to be careful if you have a small cat or a dog. And just looking around your house and seeing where there might be hazards that you’re more likely to fall over. Rugs, steps, and things like that.
Skip to 3 minutes and 34 seconds Where carpets change in their pattern, again, are notorious for people falling. So putting on a wide-angle lens and looking around your house, and looking for things that might put you at risk. Another one that I’ve just remembered is people who downsize. So they go from living in a big four-bedroom house to squeezing all the same furniture into a much smaller place. And that often will create hazards that people have to negotiate around, and as a result, increases their risk of falls. OK. Thank you very much Julia.
Meet the expert: Prof Julia Newton - falls prevention
In the last episode of our ‘meet the expert’ series, Professor Julia Newton describes some ways in which people can prevent falls and where people can find more information.
Do any of her tips or suggestions ring true to you?
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