Govt: Too many elderly falling over

  • 04/08/2015
Govt: Too many elderly falling over

The number of people over 65 is growing and the Government is working on ways to stop them falling over.

Ministers say falls cause around 40 percent of ACC claims from people aged between 65 and 69, and around 60 percent of claims from those aged over 85.

ACC Minister Nikki Kaye says initiatives will be rolled out over the next 12 months aimed at keeping them on their feet.

Senior Citizens Minister Maggie Barry says the number of people over 65 is expected to double to 1.2 million by 2035.

"Even falls that don't result in injury can affect an older person's quality of life," she said.

"Falls reduce people's confidence and cause them to restrict their day-to-day activities - lack of activity can have a flow-on effect."

Initiatives include:

* Identifying older people at risk of falls when medical alarms are installed in their homes

* Extending Otago's successful Steady As You Go programme to other centres

* ACC case managers will help older people prevent further falls after they've suffered one

* Distributing information on injury prevention through ministries and the SuperGold Card system.

WHAT ARE YOUR CHANCES OF FALLING OVER:

* If you're over 65, you have a one in three chance of falling

* For people aged 80 and over, the risk of falling increases to one in two

* Falls are the most common and costly cause of injury in older people

* Falls cause around 40 percent of ACC claims for people aged between 65 and 69, and around 60 percent of claims for those aged over 85

* Anticipated lifetime cost to ACC of older people falls in 2013 was $351 million

* Severity of fall-related injury increases with age - an 80-year-old has 15 times the risk of a hip fracture compared with a 65-year-old

* A hip fracture is associated with a 33 percent chance of entering residential care

* The number of New Zealanders aged 65 and over is expected to increase to 1.2 million, roughly one quarter of the population, by 2035.

Source: ACC, government ministries.

NZN