Adult social Care
Falls prevention advice and support from Walsall Council
Walsall Council is taking action to help reduce the number of falls by residents in the Borough.
The risk of falling increases as you get older, and falls are one of the biggest causes of emergency hospital admission for older adults with around 900 falls in the Borough every year. It’s a common problem for older people, resulting in serious injury and loss of mobility, independence and confidence.
Preventing falls is a priority for Walsall Council and there are a number of services in place to help protect residents from falling.
Staying active can be helpful in preventing falls and recent activities that are proving popular are the Council’s recent pilot of free ‘Dance to Health’ classes for over 50s and the ‘Healthy Years Ahead’ programme, which promotes and supports good physical and mental health and wellbeing. As people get older, their muscle strength and balance reduces, and the Council funds classes with exercises designed to improve muscle strength, posture, coordination and balance to reduce their risk of falling.
This month, another council initiative is being introduced during this year’s Walking Stick Check Week, which takes place from 14 to 18 November 2022 and encourages the prevention of avoidable falls caused by poorly maintained walking aids.
Ferrules - the small rubber base found at the end of walking sticks and walking frames - are now available free of charge to residents who use a walking stick or walking aid. There are available from local libraries and community centres, Walsall Manor Hospital, the Goscote Centre and Walsall Register Office. Three sizes of ferrules are available and to obtain one, residents can talk to a member of staff who will provide and fit it free of charge.
A walking stick and frame needs to be in good condition and ferrules wear down with time and use. It’s important to check them every three months for any wear and replace them regularly. Ferrules give a more stable contact with the ground and act as a shock absorber to the hand, arm and wrist. Like shoes and car tyres, if they are left to wear out too much, they won’t be effective and could increase the chance of slipping or falling.
“ Having a potentially preventable fall can be catastrophic and life-changing, particularly for people who are already frail. A hospital stay as a result of a fall can mean that weak muscle tone deteriorates further, and the patient may struggle to regain the mobility they previously had. This in turn can lead to social isolation if they are unable to do their own shopping or have regular social interactions with others, which is so important for mental health and wellbeing.
Many falls can be prevented. Ferrules don’t cost much - usually only a few pence - but they do need checking and changing regularly. By providing ferrules free of charge, we hope this will make a difference to many of our residents and help reduce the risk of falling so they are safer.
“ We want people to live healthy and independent lives in their own community. Falls prevention is key, whether it’s encouraging people to participate in dance activities to improve their strength and balance, or helping prevent accidents by doing something practical and simple like replacing ferrules on walking sticks.
We want our residents to live their best lives and the good news is that there are lots of things you can do to stay steady on your feet and avoid falls. The Council actively promotes practical healthy lifestyle choices, advising residents how they can improve their health and reduce the risk of falls and chronic illness or disorders in later life.
For more information, visit www.walsall.gov.uk
Picture caption: Richard Evans from Walsall Wood, who received a new ferrule for his walking stick at Manor Farm Community Association this week.