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HomeHealthGuy's urges older people to get active to avoid falls after eighteen...

Guy’s urges older people to get active to avoid falls after eighteen months of lockdown

Physiotherapists at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals are urging older people to get active and strengthen their muscles to help avoid falls this winter.

Many older people will have lost strength and confidence due to staying inside more in the pandemic, which could lead to dangerous falls. Hospitals have noticed more people coming in with fall-related injuries in recent months.

Health authorities think that 110,000 more older people (up by 4 per cent) will have at least one fall a year because of reduced strength and balance activity during the pandemic. They also predict that the total number of falls could increase by more than 250,000.

At Guy’s and St Thomas’, some 106 people from Lambeth and Southwark came into hospital with a non-hip related fracture, between April and June 2021 compared with 63 in this period in 2020 and 72 in the same period of 2019.

But the physio team provide strength and balance exercises in online and face-to-face groups, for people who have had a fall, nearly fallen or are worried about falling. Referrals can be made by health and social care professionals, family, carers and yourself.

Lyn Medcalf, 67, a former theatre stage door manager from south London, was referred into a 30-week virtual strength and balance class in April, having attended a face-to-face class before the pandemic.

She said: “I’d been diagnosed with epilepsy and was not feeling terribly well. I’d lost a huge amount of weight but also a lot of muscle tone as well. I was falling over and couldn’t walk in a straight line. My balance is not that great and I do get a bit dizzy and fall.

“But now I feel I’m stronger in my legs and I’ve found that my core muscles have woken up after three or four months. I do exercises at home, and I think it has really helped my balance. I look forward to the class on Friday afternoons. The tutors are lovely, really fantastic people.”

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