British Geriatrics Society joins Europe-wide 'Stay Strong, Stay Steady' campaign on falls prevention
1 OCTOBER, LONDON: The British Geriatrics Society has issued a joint commitment, along with 16 other European organisations, to promote active ageing through falls prevention.
The 'Stay Strong, Stay Steady' campaign is led by the ProFouND network, based at the University of Manchester, and timed to coincide with the UN's International Day of Older Persons. Organisations including the British Geriatrics Society have underlined the evidence on falls, which shows that they should no longer be considered an inevitable part of ageing. This joint action plan aims to increase healthy life by 2 years for older people in Europe by 2020.
Speaking on behalf of the British Geriatrics Society, Professor Adam Gordon said:
“We now know of a range of interventions proven to reduce the risk of falls, ranging from specific types of exercise, physiotherapy, adaptations to living environments and changes to lifestyle, care practices and medications.
The problem is that we don’t always deliver these to people who are most at risk of falls.
The ProFouND initiative challenges us as a society to be more ambitious about making sure those at risk of falls get the evidence-based care that they need. This is a very positive step forward.”
Dr Emma Stanmore, from The University of Manchester, said:
“We are calling on older and younger people to work together to raise awareness of how to best prevent falls and promote healthy ageing.
“Everyone can help to reduce this preventable and serious problem and the first step is to break the myth that falls are unavoidable. With some simple methods such as helping more older people to undertake regular strength and balance exercises, and safety checking their homes, over a million falls could be prevented each year.”
Falls are one of the major health threats in older age: they are more common than strokes or heart attacks, with equally serious consequences. One-third of people over 65 who live in the community will fall each year; this increases to 50% above the age of 80.
The 17-member action plan, developed in the framework of the three-year EC-funded ProFouND project, aims to:
- Increase the visibility of fall-related injuries amongst older people.
- Share good practice in promoting active lifestyles and falls prevention, and advocate for long term EU, national, regional and local level facilitated community programmes in these areas.
- Enhance the quality of data on fall-related injuries, to make comparison and evaluation easier across different countries and regions.
- Support national member organisations in integrating appropriate education and training modules for professional development and vocational training.
- To help professionals working with older people across health, social care, urban design, public transportation, fitness and other areas to understand and cover falls prevention in their work.
- Expand and further develop Fall Awareness Campaigns at national and European level.