Falls Friends – keeping the community on its feet

International Day of Older Persons on 1 October saw the launch of a new initiative by Hampshire County Council, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust to help people age well by avoiding falls. The scheme encourages people from local communities to become Falls Friends or Falls Champions, learning how to help older people in their neighbourhoods to avoid falls

Oct 3 2018

Speaking on behalf of the partner organisations, Councillor Patricia Stallard, Executive Member for Public Health at Hampshire County Council, explained, “Falls are not an inevitable part of ageing and there are steps people can take to reduce the risk of falls and fractures. In around five per cent of cases a fall leads to fracture and hospitalisation which is a real cause of distress for individuals and their families, so the more people can do to prevent this, the better.”

“With over 79,000 people aged 65 and over in Hampshire having experienced a fall in the last 12 months , we want to help people understand the causes of falls and how to reduce risks, in order to remain active and continue to live healthy and independent lives.”

Falls Friends sessions are one hour, interactive talks, designed for anyone interested in helping to prevent someone from falling and exploring potential causes such as medication, vision impairment, trip hazards, hydration and more. Participants could be family members, community members, friends or someone concerned about their own risk of falling.

The programme will be piloted in Rushmoor, the district with the highest recorded rate of emergency hospital admissions for falls in Hampshire.

Falls Friends sessions will be delivered by Falls Champions. These will be volunteers or professionals who are interested in helping to increase awareness about preventing falls amongst their communities. Champions will receive half a day’s training, enabling them to deliver Falls Friends talks.

Anyone in Rushmoor interested in hosting a Falls Friends session or becoming a Falls Champion should contact Hampshire County Council’s Falls Prevention Coordinator at FallsPrevention@hants.gov.uk or 01962 846605.