Elderly people 'staying at home for fear of falling'

elderly lady who has fallen A third of adults over 65 will suffer a fall each year, but falls are not inevitable, says Age UK

Related Stories

A fear of falling is making many elderly people prisoners in their own homes, a survey has suggested.

More than one in five of the 500 people aged 75 and older, interviewed by the Women's Royal Voluntary Service charity, lived in fear of falling.

And 5% are so fearful that they will not leave their homes unaccompanied, the report found.

A third of them had suffered falls in recent years and a fifth of these said they had lost confidence as a result.

Many said they were especially worried during winter months.

'Bleak' findings

A quarter said poor street conditions - poor lighting and uneven pavements - made them feel less confident about leaving the house.

Falls advice

  • Try not to panic if you have a fall. It is likely that you will feel shocked and a bit shaken, but staying calm will help you to gather your thoughts and remember what to do
  • Do not get up quickly. Roll onto your hands and knees and find a stable piece of furniture, such as a chair or bed, to support you as you slowly get up
  • Rest for a while before carrying on with your daily activities
  • If you are injured or cannot get up, call for help

David McCullough, chief executive of the WRVS, said: "These are bleak findings.

"With winter approaching, older people have little confidence to get out and about because they fear they will fall and, as this research shows, the psychological effects of worrying about a fall can be as debilitating and devastating as physical injuries."

Every year in the UK nearly three-quarters of a million people aged over 60 end up in the local A&E department after a fall, and one in three of these will end up staying in hospital because of their injuries.

Figures show around a third of adults who are over 65 and living at home will experience at least one fall a year. This rises to half of adults over 80 who are either at home or in residential care.

'Not inevitable'

In 2009 in England and Wales, there were 3,593 deaths as a result of falls.

Making small changes at home, such as using non-slip rugs and mats and ensuring that rooms are clutter-free and well lit, can help prevent falls.

Michelle Mitchell, of the charity Age UK, said: "At their worst falls can be the cause of death, but falls are not an inevitable part of ageing - many falls can be prevented and there is much that can be done to help people who have fallen not to fall again."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Health stories

RSS

Features

  • Alana Saarinen at pianoMum, Dad and Mum

    The girl with three biological parents


  • Polish and British flags alongside British roadsideWar debt

    Does the UK still feel a sense of obligation towards Poles?


  • Islamic State fighters parade in Raqqa, Syria (30 June 2014)Who backs IS?

    Where Islamic State finds support to become a formidable force


  • Bride and groom-to-be photographed underwaterWetted bliss

    Chinese couples told to smile, but please hold your breath


  • A ship is dismantled for scrap in the port city of Chittagong, BangladeshDangerous work

    Bangladesh's ship breakers face economic challenge


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.