EFFORTS are being stepped up locally to help prevent falls amongst the district's elderly population.

Information and advice is available online, and events are being held – including one in Keighley – to offer face-to-face help.

The initiative is being staged in support of Falls Awareness Week, which begins on Monday, September 18.

People over 65 are at highest risk of suffering a fall, and evidence indicates that over-80s have at least one fall a year.

Stephen Pugh, from Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust’s falls prevention team, says: "It’s estimated that in Bradford and Airedale around 25,500 older people have a fall each year – that’s over 19,000 in Bradford district and more than 6,000 in Airedale – with almost 3,700 requiring hospital treatment as a result.

"Most falls are not serious, but for elderly people who break bones, it often means loss of confidence and independence as well as a hospital stay.

"We want to do all we can to ensure fewer people experience the pain and injury which falls cause, and the distress both for the person concerned and their family.

"The focus of this year’s Falls Awareness Week is firmly on prevention – helping older people put awareness into action, so they can stay steady and strong and take simple steps to prevent falls."

The falls prevention team has a range of information on the care trust's website – at bdct.nhs.uk/services/falls-prevention-team – including details of strength and balance exercises, a home safety checker and how to get a falls assessment.

Events are planned early next month so older people and their families can obtain advice and ask questions.

Falls prevention staff will be joined at the sessions by members of the care trust’s continence and proactive care teams and representatives of partner organisations including Age UK, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Dance for Life and the Royal Osteoporosis Society.

The Keighley event takes place at the Airedale Shopping Centre on Wednesday, October 4, between 10am and 2pm.

Sessions are also being held in Bradford.

Mr Pugh added: "So many different things can contribute to the risk of a fall, not just muscle weakness or poor balance, but poor eyesight, badly-fitting footwear, use of certain medicines, tripping over items in the home or outside, and some medical conditions.

"We’re looking forward to talking with anyone who is concerned about falling, or who knows someone at risk."