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A couple having a discussion about the reasons why you should tell someone you have fallen as it can lead to help.

The consequences of falls

Falls have consequences for individuals, family and social circles, society and the economy. While we will touch on each of these, our focus will be on the personal impact of falls.

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Personal impact

The most obvious injuries which result from falls include bruises, cuts and grazes and these will occur for almost everybody who has a fall. They become more obvious as we get older as our skin and blood vessels become more fragile.

Broken bones or fractures occur in 6% of older people who fall, with 1% of people who fall breaking their hip bone. Breaking a hip bone remains very serious, but over the last decade we have seen dramatic improvements in the prognosis for older people who fall and break a hip. In Week 4 of this course we learn more about how we can both prevent falls and protect our bones.

Fear of falling is non-physical injury. About 50% of people who fall become frightened of falling again. This fear can lead to avoiding some activities, or limiting oneself to staying in the house. Unfortunately, fear of falling itself can increase the risk of having further falls. During this course we will learn more about this, including ways to improve confidence and some emerging research results which may help people in the future.

Impact on the family and friends

  • Reduced contact with family or friends
  • Increased concern from family, sometimes reducing your independence
  • Reduced support to your family and friends if you help care for grandchildren for example
  • Reduced attendance at social events or classes

Impact on Health Services

The number of hospital admissions related to falls increased by approximately 25% between 2006 and 2013. In the UK alone, falls more than £2 billion per year making falls in the top 20 most costly/expensive medical conditions.

Conclusion

In summary, the impact of falls is both personal and far-reaching. Preventing falls can help keep people independent and injury free.

During this course we will aim to give you some practical tips to help you manage your own risk of falling. We also hope you will gain from sharing your experiences with others on the course and learn from each others’ experiences.

  • Can you think of any other consequences of falling?

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This article is from the free online course:

Ageing Well: Falls

Newcastle University

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