Seniors urged to get active to avoid a fall

Tips to help older Queenslanders stay on their feet.

“Your grandmother has had a fall.”

It’s the last phone call anyone would want to receive – yet it has become more common in Queensland.

On average, Queensland Health admits 150 people over the age of 60 to hospital each day due to a fall.

Geriatrician and Chair of the Frail Older Person’s Collaborative Dr Elizabeth Whiting said falls can significantly impact a person’s confidence and quality of life.

“More than 87,000 people were treated in Queensland hospitals last financial year for injuries sustained from a fall,” Dr Whiting said.

“Almost 60,000 of those were people over the age of 60, with 80-year-olds falling the most.

“This affects not just the person, but their family and friends.

“Fractures to the hip, head, lower back, shoulder and forearm are the most common injuries treated because of a fall and can result in a long stay in hospital.”

Dr Whiting said falls should not be an inevitable part of ageing and can be prevented.

“We need to encourage people to stay active and to reduce potential hazards around the home,” she said.

“The most effective way to prevent falls is to improve strength and balance through activities and exercises or classes like Tai Chi.

“I encourage all families to have a conversation with their older family members about how they can prevent falls.”

Tips to prevent falls

  1. Keep paths free of moss and leaves, remove obstacles such as gardening tools, hoses and pots.
  2. Move frequently used items to within easy reach to reduce the need for ladders.
  3. Keep a sturdy, broad-based stepladder with handrails handy.
  4. Keep outdoor areas well-lit and properly maintained – especially tiles and paths.
  5. If you have a damaged public footpath near your home, take a photo and send it with a letter or email describing the location and type of hazard to your local council.

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