Prevention is key during April Falls month

29 April 2015

This month Taranaki DHB, New Plymouth Injury Safe and ACC are promoting Vitamin D supplements and strength and balance exercises to help reduce the risk of falls as part of the national ‘Stand up to Falls’ campaign launched this month.

Gail Geange, Taranaki DHB Associate Director of Nursing said, “A fall can have a devastating impact on elderly people and their loved ones. In 2013, 410 people aged over 50 were hospitalised in Taranaki and a total of 18,500 across New Zealand, as a result of a fall. Many falls are preventable and we are very focused on reducing that number.”

“Vitamin D offers a cost effective and simple way of reducing the risk of falls by helping to maintain bone health and improve muscle function. For most people the main source of vitamin D is through direct sunlight on uncovered skin. However, many older people don’t get enough.”

“If you are over 50 and don’t spend much time in the sun, or cover up when outside, ask your doctor if a vitamin D supplement is right for you. It takes just one small tablet a month to boost vitamin D levels.”

Falls can also be prevented by regular strength training exercises which increase muscle strength, core balance and gait, even in frail older people.

“If you are over 50, ask your doctor what strength training exercises are right for you, they may give you a prescription for exercise or a ‘green prescription’. The green prescription programme is delivered around the region by Sport Taranaki.”

“Younger people can also benefit from vitamin D and strength training exercises. If you keep your muscles and bones in good condition, you are less likely to fall and injure yourself when you are older,” added Mrs Geange.

Taranaki DHB is supporting April Falls month this week with a number of initiatives including information stands and the opportunity for people to test their balance with physiotherapy staff. A staff quiz about vitamin D will also be used to raise awareness about this important falls prevention tool.

Reducing harm from falls is the fifth focus for the Open for Bette Care national patient safety campaign led nationally by the Health Quality & Safety Commission.

For more information please call                                                                                         
Cressida Gates, Media Advisor, 027 703 6177


Last updated: Wednesday, April 29, 2015

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