The risk of falling increases as we grow older. Falls can compromise independence and lead to isolation, damaging confidence as well as health.
But the good news is that most falls are preventable. There are all sorts of measures that older people can take to reduce their risk of falling - from addressing the factors that make them so common to combating their damaging effects. Thanks to the committed support of people like you, we're fighting back against falls.
• About 30 per cent of all people over 65 fall each year, rising to about 50 per cent for those aged 85 and over.
• In the UK one in two women and one in five men will suffer a fracture after the age of 50, mainly due to poor bone health.
• Of those older people who have had at least one fall, 9 per cent become afraid to leave their homes in case they fall again, leaving them isolated and vulnerable.
• A tailored exercise programme can reduce the chance of falling by up to 50 per cent.
Here are some of the ways your generosity is helping to save lives and improve their quality.
• Making homes safer
From fixing loose carpets and reducing hazards like trailing flexes to installing life-saving handrails, there are all sorts of simple measures that older people can take to make falls at home less likely. Age UK's HandyVan fitters will visit older people at home and carry out small repairs, as well as installing safety features.
• Helping people stay fit and healthy
From targeted exercise classes run by local Age UKs to DVDs and books, Age UK is leading the way in showing how improving strength and balance can dramatically reduce the risk of falling. See below for more about our Fit as a Fiddle programme promoting better health and wellbeing in later life.
• Information and advice
Our invaluable range of free guides give advice on everything from eating the right diet for strong bones to caring for your eyes. Older people can also discuss their concerns using our free and friendly information and advice line.
• Combating isolation
Falls can make older people less mobile and less confident about going out. Age UK offers befriending services, day centres, lunch clubs and other opportunities for older people to socialise and build relationships.
Falls Awareness Week
Age UK's annual Falls Awareness Week plays a vital role in showing people how devastating falls can be - and the many ways older people can cut down their chances of being affected. Last year we held over 1,200 events throughout the UK, reaching about 60,000 people in later life. This year's week starts on the 18 June and we hope to reach even more people when we focus on this important health risk. If you'd like to get involved, visit www.ageuk.org.uk/fallsweek to find out more.
Our work in preventing falls is just part of the fabulous Fit as a Fiddle programme - which supports more than 100 projects, groups and activities across the UK. Last year 33,000 people took part in everything from cookery clubs and tea dances to football, gardening and chair-based exercise. While every activity is aimed at improving health and wellbeing, participants enjoy a host of other benefits, like new relationships, increased confidence and greater independence.
The Fit as a Fiddle programme is long-term, so regular gifts from supporters like you are really important - as we can plan ahead confident that we'll have the funds to continue this valuable work.