Department of Health and Social Care
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KEEPING OLDER PEOPLE FIT AND HEALTHY

KEEPING OLDER PEOPLE FIT AND HEALTHY

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 22 July 2009

Simple measures such as good footcare, sight tests and light exercise can help older people live better, Care Service Minister Phil Hope said today as he launched the Older People’s Prevention Package.

The package sets out how preventing health problems before they occur can help older people live better and healthier lives. It is part of the government’s ageing strategy Building a Society for All Ages.

The prevention package will:

· promote best practice around falls prevention and effective fracture management;
· introduce measures to improve access to affordable footcare services;
· clearly set out health ‘entitlements’ including sight tests, flu vaccination and cancer screening; and
· summarise existing progress on audiology and telecare services.

Additional services will be incorporated into the prevention package over time, including continence care, treatment for depression, and arthritis.

Care Services Minister Phil Hope said:

“In people over 65, falls are one of the main reasons for hospital admission. Very simple measures –good footcare and mending wobbly chairs – can prevent an elderly person from falling over and developing serious problems such as a broken leg. No one wants to become dependent on others as they get older.

“This prevention package will ensure that older people can stay fit and healthy for much longer so that they can live fulfilled independent lives in their retirement.”

Alex Mair, Chief Executive British Geriatrics Society (BGS) said:

“Older people are the main users of health and social care services. As specialists in providing integrated medical care for older people, we are fully supportive of all preventative measures which result in better health in old age.

“This prevention package highlights a range of best practice examples. It signposts measures which can be undertaken to reduce the hospitalisation of older people, and their need for long term care, by maximising their ability to lead independent lives.”

Dr Finbarr Martin, Acting National Clinical Director for Older People said:

“This prevention package is about raising the expectations of older people about what their local services can do to help prevent unnecessary loss of mobility and independence. For the NHS, this means making sure that effective services are commissioned and reliably provided for common problems like falls, fractures and loss of hearing.”

Notes to Editors

Case studies and a geriatrician are available for interview on request, please contact the Department of Health newsdesk on 0207 210 5221.Visit www.nhs.uk for tips, advice and information on how to keep healthy and living independently. Prevention and early intervention is aimed at people aged 50 plus, however some of the services and ‘entitlements’ within the prevention package do not become available until aged 60 or over.Fractures, which are generally the result of falls and bone fragility (osteoporosis) affect 1 in 3 women and 1 in 7 men over 65, with over 200,000 new fractures a year in England.Painful feet are one of the major reasons older people have difficulty walking so good footcare helps people live more independent and fulfilling lives.

Contacts:

Department of Health
Phone: 020 7210 5221
NDS.DH@coi.gsi.gov.uk

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