Solent NHS TrustHigh quality community and mental health services

Falls Awareness 20-24 June

Published: 20/06/2011

Elderly people are being warned that reduced vision can affect their balance, co-ordination and mobility.

To mark National Falls Awareness Week (20-24 June), physiotherapists from Solent NHS Trust’s Falls Prevention Team will be providing advice in Shirley, at Sainsbury’s supermarket from 8.30am Wednesday 22 June. There will be a chance to have a go on a balance assessment machine (the BIOSWAY).

The team will also be available to talk to elderly people, their friends and families about the risks of falling and the practical changes that can reduce risks.

During the event - finishing at 2.30pm - Solent NHS Trust teams will also offer blood pressure checks, advice from a pharmacist and a podiatrist as well as information about relevant local services such as:

  1. the Sensory Services Team
  2. providers of well fitting shoes
  3. opticians that can do homes visits
  4. freeferrule exchange ie replacement of worn rubber ends to walking sticks and walking aids.

With falls among elderly people costing the NHS up to £4.6m daily, according to Age UK, the theme for this year’s National Falls Awareness Week ‘Watch Your Step!’ is meant to highlight the importance of regular eye sight checks.

Sally Ann Belward, Falls Clinical Lead Physiotherapist at Solent NHS Trust, said, “Wearing the right glasses at the right times can reduce the risk of falling. Simple changes to our lifestyle and environment can improve vision and help prevent falls. Don’t ignore sight problems – many are correctable or treatable. Eye health checks are a vital part of looking after ourselves, especially as we get older. There are opticians who will visit people at home in Southampton. Come and try on the “simulation spectacles”, spectaclesaltered to give the wearer the same limitations of vision as someone with e.g. glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration this will show youhow different eye conditions can affect your vision”.

Stephanie Ramsey, Associate Director for Integrated Strategic Commissioning at NHS Southampton City, who commission the falls prevention service said;

“Many older people are concerned about falling over and so the advice session in Sainsbury’s is a great way for them and their families to learn more about how to help prevent falls. Some very simple actions can avoid unnecessary visits to hospital and help individuals maintain their independence.”


Notes for Editors:

The event is part of a national awareness campaign, run by Age UK, which is the new charity formed by the merger of Age Concern and Help the Aged.

Information on National Falls Awareness Week can be found at

Solent NHS Trust was created on 1 April 2011. We provide a range of community and specialist mental health services to over a million people in Southampton, Portsmouth and parts of Hampshire.

For more information please contact Kirstie Henry, Communications Assistant, Solent NHS Trust on 023 8060 8935.

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