DVVA raises awareness of falls and how to prevent them
Have you had a fall or do you know someone who has? Unfortunately falling can be common, unsettling, cause injury and often there is a stigma where people don’t talk about it. Dundee has a high rate of falls. With many of us being less active during pandemic restrictions and winter approaching, the number of people who experience a fall is expected to go up.
Dundee Volunteer and Voluntary Action (DVVA) and volunteers have been working in association with NHS, Royal Voluntary Service, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, and with those who have experienced falls first hand, to raise awareness, help people recover from a fall, and prevent more falls in future.
You can have a fall at any age, particularly if you have a medical condition or disability, but the chances of this happening do increase as you get older. Falls can be caused by a natural reduction in muscle strength and balance as we age, eyesight and hearing issues, under-nutrition, medication, cognitive illnesses such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s, hazards around the home, unsuitable footwear, and alcohol.
If you have had a fall or are worried about having one, we would encourage you to speak to someone about it like a family member, a friend or your GP practice so that you can develop strategies for preventing falls in future.
Exercise is something you can do to improve your muscle strength and balance. For example gardening, walking, moderate sports, playing with the young ones, or even just some gentle seated exercises. There are many places around Dundee you can attend to stay fit and have fun and there are videos coaching you on how to do gentle exercises at home.
It also helps if your body has the right fuel. So getting plenty of protein and vitamin D help bones and muscle strength. Beans, fish, dairy and eggs are all good as is white and red meat and cereals.
As part of a Home Fire Safety visit, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service can help to identify hazards around your home which could lead to a fall.
The NHS in Dundee has a team of physiotherapists, occupational therapists and nutritionists dedicated to working on falls all year round. There is a Falls Prevention Pathway where health and social care agencies and some Third Sector organisations can identify someone at risk of a fall from a short conversation and suggest interventions. This involves a 5 minute call and you can self-refer by calling 01382 423140 or emailing [email protected].
Steady Steps Dundee is a group of DVVA volunteer ambassadors who can provide you with information leaflets, exercise plans, classes and groups, testimonials from those who have had a fall, videos, talks in the community, and other resources.
We will be running communications over the next few months to raise the profile of falls and let those who have experienced them share their experiences. For more information contact Jud Clark at DVVA on 07530 231588 or email [email protected].