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Older people can help themselves avoid falling over by taking
fewer medicines and by practising the Tai Chi martial art.
The advice, published in the Journal of American Geriatrics
Society, is included in new guidance for doctors. Around 14,000
people die every year in the UK as a result of falling.
One in three over-65s and one in two over-80s will have a
fall at least once a year. Falls are among the most common
cause of death for older people. According to Age UK, services
will be improved by implementing the journal's recommendations,
which include doing regular exercise to increase strength
and improve balance, such as practising Tai Chi.
The charity's Andrew Harrop said: 'Age UK welcomes these
new guidelines which will help position the issue of falls
amongst people in later life firmly in the spotlight. Every
year, 3.4 million people over 65 suffer a fall that can cause
serious injury, and even death.
'However, as these guidelines demonstrate, falls can be
prevented. With research showing that programmes for improving
strength and balance can reduce the risk of falls by as much
as 55%, the recommendation that interventions for preventing
falls should include an exercise component is particularly
welcome. We urge that all exercise programmes are evidence-based.
'Currently there are large variations in the quality of
falls-prevention services provided across the UK, and it is
crucial that these guidelines are put into practice to ensure
that future falls are prevented.
'The Age UK campaign Stop Falling: Start saving lives and
money is calling on all those responsible to work together
to improve access to falls-prevention services to all people
in later life who are at risk of falling.
For more information, please visit www.ageuk.org.uk/fallscampaign'
For any advice on any issues which affect you please contact:
Age UK Advice: 0800 169 6565
These excerpts were taken from Age UK. Apologies for any
misquotes Mae Stewart