Stay Steady on Your Feet this Winter with Home Instead

The team at Home Instead Harrogate, Ripon and Thirsk, recently shared tips and advice on how to avoid trips and falls this winter on Stray FM Radio’s monthly Health & Wellbeing Show. Home Instead who support older people living in their own homes, understand the impact falls can have on us as we get older.  

 As winter approaches and the weather changes with the threat of ice and wet leaves on the paths, plus the darker evenings, there is always an increased risk of falls for everyone. But as we age there is an extra increased risk to falling when we have reduced strength, mobility and balance, a decreased range of motion, slower reflexes and possibly deteriorating sight and hearing. Medical conditions including; Parkinson’s disease and strokes can affect balance, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis may make it difficult to move around leading to weaker muscles and stiff joints, cataracts and macular degeneration can affect vision, plus medications such as tranquillisers, antidepressants, sleeping pills and some heart tablets can lead to dizziness.

 According to the latest research, 10 days in bed for an older person can equate to 10 years of muscle wastage and one third of over 65-year olds will experience a fall each year of which a quarter will require medical treatment ranging from minor wounds to requiring stitches to broken bones.  Half of all people aged over 80 years will unfortunately experience a fall. Having a fall can take you a long time to recover, even more so when you are over 65 years old, it can also lead to a loss of confidence, self-esteem and independence with a fear of falling again   

Sheena and Andrew Van Parys, co-owners of Home Instead, were invited into the Stray FM studio to advise listeners on how to stay safe on their feet and help to reduce the risk of a fall, here are some important points to keep safe this winter:

  1. Regular exercise is important- brisk walking, dancing, tai chi, climbing stairs, all help keep muscles strong and joints supple
  2. Check your sight and hearing regularly
  3. Ask about medicines - some can affect balance or make your feel faint/dizzy
  4. Visit your GP - they may be able to explain more about falls
  5. Keep your vitamin D consumption up to help absorb calcium. Try and get some sunshine if you can as about 90% of our vitamin D is normally obtained from sunshine..  Keep your calcium levels up by eating cheese, yoghurt, green leafy vegetables, lentils and fortified breakfast cereals
  6. Check your home for hazards- keep stairs and living areas well lit, fit easy grip handrails, non-slip rubber mats in the bath/shower, replace worn rugs, carpets, nail, or tape down the edge of rugs, clear clutter, avoid trailing flexes and cables.
  7. Minimize bending/climbing- keep frequently used items on racks or drawers at an easy level to avoid over stretching or bending
  8. Have a letter tray fitted on to your letterbox to avoid bending down and losing balance.   
  9. Get up from your bed/chair slowly using the 1,2,3 counting method- blood pressure falls as we get up so take your time.
  10. Don’t rush to answer the phone or the door- have a mobile phone or cordless phone next to you fully charged  
  11. Look after your feet with good shoes and slippers that have slip resistant rubber soles and support the ankle, and avoid just wearing slippery tights and socks on your feet in the home.
  12. Have regular chiropodist appointments to keep your feet in good shape. 
  13. Keep rock salt handy to put on slippery paths
  1.  Listen below to our Stray FM show....... 

 To find out more about Home Instead and the services they offer, call Harrogate 01423 774490, Ripon 01765 530 400 or Thirsk 01845 440 510 or visit www.homeinstead.co.uk/harrogate