Tag Archives: Prevention

Senior Independence: Exercise for the over-65’s

 Senior independence. Senior health.

Senior independence and staying healthy in oder ageGuidelines for older adults aged 65 and over. Seniors, aged 65 or older, who are generally fit and have no health conditions that limit their mobility, should try to be active daily and should do:

At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or walking every week,


Strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).


75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity such as running or a game of singles tennis every week,


Strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).

NHS – keeping you independent in older age:

This advice comes from the NHS who wish to keep you healthy and enjoying your independence in your own home. For more information visit NHS Choices.

Kat Navarro

Community Alarms: Supporting Senior Independence through health.

Christmas Gift ideas for your elderly parents this year

present-2Wondering what to get your elderly parents for Christmas? If they’ve already got enough scarves and warm socks and they’ve told you they really don’t need anything… try looking around their home from a different perspective and see if there’s not something you can DO for them.

Try donning a pair of imaginary glasses, not Rose-Tinted but a pair of Elderly Lenses, and put yourself in their shoes as you move around your parents’ home and garden. Here’s some pointers:

START AT THE ENTRANCE. If there’s a step to either the front or back door, is there a sturdy handrail? Are the steps even? Turn your attention to outside lights. Is there good lighting outside the door?

Then come inside the door, when mum or dad locks the door at night, is the key left in the lock? This will mean no-one can unlock the door from outside if your parent is inside and needs help. If not in the lock, are the keys nearby in case they have to get out quickly? A handy solution can be a simple hook (either in the nearby wall or a suction hook on the door) for the keys to hang on. And don’t forget the doormat – is it a trip hazard?

REDUCE SLIPS AND TRIPS. On the subject of mats, check all the mats and rugs around the house. Are they curling up and causing a trip hazard? Replace them. Do they need a rubber liner underneath to stop them slipping? Cast your eyes around for potential trip hazards – wires or objects on the floor and see if they can be moved. Then turn your attention to footwear. Sloppy slippers, open-backed slippers, worn-out slippers, big-fluffy-loose-fitting slippers should all go.

BRIGHTEN THE PLACE UP. Pay attention to lighting inside too. As they get older and eyesight deteriorates, your parents may benefit from more powerful overhead light fixtures, as well as task lights carefully placed near work surfaces such as kitchen counters. Make sure that the ambient lighting is glare-free and at a consistent level from one room to the next to avoid eye strain.

VISIT THE BATHROOM. Mum or Dad might say they really don’t need grab rails in the bathroom. But when they are there, you do just use them without giving it a thought. If you do slip in the bathroom you tend to go down with a bump. So avoid it. Non-slip mat? Bath seat? Raised toilet seat?

GET TECHNOLOGICAL. There is no need to be completely tech savvy, but there are some useful gadgets. Do they receive lots of cold calls making them get up to answer the phone all the time? These can be screened and blocked. How about a daily skype or facetime? Not only does it keep you in touch but you can also see how they are looking.

The benefits of exercise can be great

It is never too late to begin a programme of exercise and the benefits can be great. Improving your strength, stamina and balance will not only make you feel better, you may lose weight and lessen your risk of having a fall due to poor balance.

Balance is affected by several factors; decreased vision, weak hips and legs, poor posture and general weakness. Some prescription drugs can have side-effects that affect balance. Low blood pressure and not eating properly can also lead to light-headedness, making us more susceptible to a fall. That is why beginning a balance programme which incorporates strength training, endurance training and balance training is essential in maintaining and promoting good balance and overall health and wellbeing. It’s best to approach beginning exercise gently,5 minutes a day is enough to make a difference and you can increase this over time as your strength and stamina improve.

A study published in the journal Age in 2014 trained and tested a group of 24 people aged between 91 and 96 for 12 weeks. One group of 11 trained twice a week, carrying out vigorous exercises for strength and to improve balance. The 13 others did 30 minutes of far less strenuous mobility training, including gentle stretching and flexibility exercises. At the end of the experiment, the first group showed a significant improvement in walking speed, hip and knee flexibility. Their muscle mass had increased, they found it easier to get out of their chairs and they were less likely to fall over.

The group that did less strenuous exercise showed far less progress. Professor Mikel Izquierdo, who led the research, said physical inactivity causes muscle loss and frailty. He said: ‘The training raised their functional capacity, lowered the risk of falls, and improved muscle power. To get all of the benefits of physical activity, try all four types of exercise; endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility.

This will give you the maximum benefit. Just make sure that you never exercise when you feel unwell, have a fever or swollen joints. It is also always very important to speak with your doctor before you begin a new exercise regime, especially if you have underlying health problems that could be exacerbated by undertaking a sudden change in your activity levels.

You can do balance exercises almost anytime, anywhere, and as often as you like, as long as you have something sturdy nearby to hold on to if you become unsteady. In the beginning, using a chair or the wall for support will help you work on your balance safely. It’s a great starting point for someone new to exercise as they are usually simple and low impact and will be most important in helping you reduce your risk of losing balance and falling.

Reduce slips and falls with a new pair of slippers

Contact Care are teaming up with Norfolk County Council to highlight the need to reduce the number of slips and falls amongst the elderly in our region by hosting a Slipper Swap event at Tuckswood Library, Robin Hood Road, Norwich NR4 6BX on the 29th January between 10am – 12pm. According to the University Hospitals of Leicester, 24,000 over-65s in the UK fall over at home every year because of poorly fitting footwear.

Shockingly, falls account for at least a third of all hospital admissions in the over 65s, according to Age UK’s website* Other worrying facts include:

  • Falls are the largest cause of emergency hospital admissions for older people, and significantly impact on long term outcomes, e.g. being a major precipitant of people moving from their own home to long-term nursing or residential care.146
  • Almost 3,653 people aged 65+ died from having a fall in 2013 (E&W, latest available data). This was almost equally divided between men and women, and would equate to ten people every day.147
  • Around 70,000-75,000 hip fractures occur in the UK each year. These are mainly due to falls. The annual cost for all hip fractures in the UK, including medical and social care, is about £2 billion. *

Winter can be a particularly hazardous time for the old and infirm and with the colder months upon us, it is important to keep a check on the wellbeing of older friends, neighbours and relatives. It is also important that organisations in the community work together to support the elderly to continue to live independently and to signpost them to events that are designed to do just this. Research has shown that older people are more likely to fall in the home if they are wearing ill-fitting footwear. A significant number of older people fall every year because of slippers that do not fit very well or have become unsafe through wear and tear – a problem identified as one of the main causes of falls.

A Slipper Swap is a beautifully simple idea but it can really help to raise awareness and provide a practical solution to reducing slips and falls. The idea is that you bring along your old, worn out or ill-fitting slippers and the friendly team from NCC will swap them for a brand new, non-slip pair. Simple!

Catrina, from Contact Care will also be offering advice on solutions for supporting people through the trauma of having a fall. A contact Care lifeline service gives reassurance and peace of mind by ensuring that help is immediately at hand at the press of a button. A trained member of staff from the 24hr response centre will provide assistance in whatever form is needed and if required they will contact nominated emergency contacts to alert them to the situation and request assistance. If this sounds like something you or an elderly/frail relative or friend could benefit from then head over to the Contact Care stand where Catrina will be providing advice and leaflets on the service.

Other help on offer includes advice about fall prevention, NHS Health Checks and information concerning the free one-to-one Health Trainer service. As well as the swap, there will be free thermometers and information leaflets on a wide range of subjects as well as free hot drinks and refreshments. So come along, it’s at Tuckswood Library, Robin Hood Road, Norwich NR4 6BX

29th January, from 10am – 12pm. We look forward to seeing you!
For more information about falls and how to prevent them, visit: www.nhs.uk/conditions/Falls/Pages/Introduction.aspx
To find out more about local services that can support you in making positive changes to your lifestyle, please visitwww.norfolkslivingwell.org.uk.