A FEW simple measures can help reduce the risk of falls in the home.

That’s the message from district health chiefs, who are campaigning to raise awareness of the issue.

As part of the initiative – spearheaded by NHS Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – a free tai chi taster session was staged during an Active Ageing event in Keighley’s Airedale Shopping Centre.

Studies have shown that tai chi can help people aged 65 and over improve their posture, balance and general mobility, and increase the muscle strength in their legs.

The campaign has also included events at St Andrew’s Church in Skipton and Christchurch, Ilkley.

Enid Feather, the CCG’s clinical lead for self care and prevention, said the risk of falls increased as people got older – and the consequences could be serious.

“Around one-in-three people aged 65 and over fall at least once a year and that increases to one-in-two for those aged 85 and over,” she added.

“Falls that result in injuries can be very serious, with over half of those aged 70-plus ending up in hospital.

“With an increasing number of older people living in our district, it is important that they are aware of simple steps they can take to stay safe and keep on their feet.

“We want every older person to have the best opportunity to live and age well without fear of falling and injury.”

At the Active Ageing event, people were also able to have their blood pressure checked and learn more about foot care and diet.

And staff from the CCG, district falls prevention service and Carers’ Resource, as well as therapists, were on hand to answer people’s questions.

Tips to prevent falls in the home include:

* immediately mop-up any spillages

* remove clutter, trailing wires and frayed carpet

* use non-slip mats and rugs

* fit high-wattage light bulbs in lamps and torches so you can see clearly

* organise your home so that climbing, stretching and bending are kept to a minimum, and to avoid bumping into things

* get help to perform tasks you’re unable to do safely on your own

* don’t walk on slippery floor surfaces in socks or tights

* avoid wearing loose-fitting, trailing clothes that might trip you up

* wear well-fitting shoes that are in good condition and support the ankle

* take care of your feet by trimming your toenails regularly and seeing a GP or chiropodist about any foot problems

More information and advice can be found at nhs.uk.