With the Met office issuing weather warnings as storm Agnes sweeps the UK, we all need to take extra care to stay safe whilst out and about. Extreme weather poses a risk to anyone’s health, but those most vulnerable – including the older generations – could be severely impacted.
Fall prevention and good balance is becoming increasingly important for older adults – especially with the winter months fast-approaching. NHS research* has found elderly falls are on the rise – with the number of older adults (over 65) needing hospital treatment for falls increasing by 15% over the last 10 years.
New research by Lottie (a later living marketplace) has found a substantial increase in people turning to Google for fall prevention support to cope with the extreme weather change. With searches increasing over the last 12 months**:
- 5000% increase in online searches for ‘when do most falls occur’
- 350% increase in online searches for ‘fall alarms for seniors’
- 300% increase in online searches for ‘digital fall alarm’
- 100% increase in online searches for ‘fall protection for elderly’
Hannah Karim, Care Expert Manager at Lottie, shares: “The risk of falling increases as we get older and can be exacerbated in the winter months – though most falls don’t cause serious injuries, they can leave you feeling unsettled and less confident to move around independently.
With the Met office issuing a weather alert for Storm Agnes, it’s important we’re able to support our elderly loved ones and neighbours. From keeping their homes clutter free, to encouraging them to eat well, there are lots of things we can do to help our elderly loved ones stay steady on their feet and prevent any falls.”
Steps To Lower Your Loved One’s Risk Of Falls During A Storm Warning – According to Lottie’s Hannah Karim:
1. Keep their home clutter-free
Naturally we spend more time at home during a storm. So, one of the easiest ways to prevent falls is by removing home hazards. Try to keep living spaces free from any mess or clutter – this could be something as simple as removing any old newspapers or magazines.
Make sure to check each room in your home. Look out for loose carpets, rugs or floorboards that may be sticking up and could be a tripping hazard. Slip resistant backing can be added to flooring and rugs to prevent the risk of any falls.
2. Encourage the use of walking aids
Rails and handlebars can help older adults to be safe and independent at home by supporting them with everyday tasks such as getting up and down stairs, using the toilet and washing.
A walking stick or walking aid can help your loved one to stay steady on their feet as they move around – both at home and outside. Check with a doctor or nurse that your loved ones walking aid is set to the right height and any wheels roll smoothly.
3. Support them to eat well
It’s important that your loved one eats well and drinks plenty of fluids throughout the day – this will help to keep their energy up and prevent the risk of falls.
Keep an eye on their appetite and encourage them to eat 3 meals a day. If they find it hard to eat 3 main meals a day, nutritious snacks such as dairy (cheese, milk, and eggs), oily fish high in omega-3 and fruits and vegetables are all good alternatives to maintaining a balanced diet.
4. Offer practical support
As the temperatures drop and surfaces become slippery, you can support your loved one through the storm by offering practical support with everyday tasks. From getting their weekly shop and keeping them stocked up on supplies. To taking them to social events and appointments, you can keep your loved one safe and well.