With icy weather forecast over coming weeks, and Portsmouth having higher rates of emergency hospital admissions from falls, Public Health within Portsmouth City Council is offering advice to help people avoid falls.

  • Wear well-fitting slippers with good grip around the home and shoes with good grip when heading out
  • Stay active with gentle exercise as this can help you to avoid falls and make you more resistant to serious injury if you do fall. Search 'Independence and Wellbeing' on portsmouth.gov.uk for details of over 20 gentle exercise classes including seated sessions held in community venues across the city. You'll also find details of free healthy led walks across the city with several being at a gentle pace
  • Stock up on medicines and tinned/long-life food so that you don’t need to go out in bad weather
  • Sign up to the Services Priority Register on www.ofgem.gov.uk to ensure you're one of the first to be reconnected following a power cut
  • Look out for elderly friends, relatives and neighbours. Offer to get things for them in bad weather to save them going out, clear their pathways of snow and ice and help them do tasks at home that might have an increased risk of falling e.g. changing lightbulbs or going into the loft
  • There are groups around the city such as GoodGym, Helping Hands & Good Neighbours schemes that can help with tasks around the home or running errands if you can’t get out. Search 'Independence and Wellbeing' on portsmouth.gov.uk for more details.

Falls can happen to anyone but older people are more vulnerable and likely to fall, particularly if they have a long-term health condition. Thirty percent of people aged 65 and over will fall at least once a year, rising to 50% for those aged 80 and over. Falls can impact on mental as well as physical health leading to pain, distress, loss of confidence and lost independence. Falls are the largest cause of emergency hospital admissions for people over 65 and are estimated to cost the NHS more than £2.3billion per year. They can also impact on long-term outcomes, for example forcing a move into residential care. Portsmouth has higher rates of emergency hospital admissions due to falls in older residents than the South East and England averages. [1]

Cllr Matthew Winnington, Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care at Portsmouth City Council, said: "Ensuring that residents live healthy and independent lives for as long as they can is a priority for us. There are many factors that can lead to someone having a fall, and we know that accidents happen regardless of how careful we are, but we're hoping that the advice we're providing will help to reduce the risk of falls in older, more vulnerable residents.

"People looking out for elderly neighbours and helping them with tasks that might lead to a fall, particularly in bad weather, would have a real impact. We're also lucky in the city to have a number of groups that can assist older residents and I'd like to thank everyone  who is part of one of these."

[1] Emergency hospital admissions due to falls in people aged 65 and over. Portsmouth 2,477 per 100,000, South East England 2,135 per 100,000 & England 2,114 per 100,000

 Emergency hospital admissions due to falls in people aged 80 and over. Portsmouth 6,101 per 100,000, South East England 5,515 per 100,000 & England 5,363 per 100,000

Source: Public Health England https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/