Active healthy living is something that is very much at the top of the health agenda these days. We are living longer but the best way to enjoy these extra years is to remain healthy so we can live life to the full. But at both ends of the age spectrum even a healthy life can be interrupted by an accident leading to life changing injury, and it’s not just those who suffer the injury who are affected.
Think of parents of young children who have had a serious accident and the distress this causes. Their lives too, are changed forever. Meanwhile for those with older family members who are frail or who have perhaps suffered injuries from a fall, there is the added worry and care that can often affect their own health and wellbeing. There is no doubt that accidents leading to serious injury can significantly affect whole families.
That’s why RoSPA, as part of our vision for life free from serious accidental injury, have joined with key national partners to co-ordinate the development of a national strategy to prevent serious accidental injuries in England and to enable people to be safe and active at all ages. But this isn’t just RoSPA’s mission. This is a national call for everyone to make it part of their mission. We all have a stake in our future health and wellbeing and that of our families.
We know so much about accidents. We know, for example that our under-fives are among the most vulnerable to an accident in the place where they should be at their safest – the home. The recommendations of the strategy recognise this by championing homes that are safer by design and training for those who work with young families so they can provide support and advice on how to make our homes safer. But we also know that safe and active lives don’t just happen by accident. That’s why the recommendations highlight the need for a multi-agency approach, led by a senior manager in every area of the country. In this way we can make sure that families are supported to create safer environments, children can learn how to keep themselves safe as they grow, and professionals and volunteers who work with families and children can have a real impact on everyday lives.
We also know that at the other end of the age spectrum there is a greatly increased chance of a serious injury from something as seemingly innocuous as a fall, often in the place where people spend most of their time and should feel safe, the home. Something that we may have just got up and brushed ourselves down after in earlier years can often lead to something as devastating as a broken hip, shattering confidence and restricting lives. But falls are not an inevitable part of ageing and we know that simple measures to improve strength and balance and create a safer home environment can help to reduce these life damaging events. Again, the solutions are wide ranging and that’s why the strategy supports building a national consensus and bringing together local partnerships of all agencies who have a role to play in supporting safe and active lives among older people.
To build safe and active lives requires a strategy that puts prevention of serious accidental injury at the heart of our thinking. Prevention is often seen as a word that means “to stop something”, but essentially, “Safe and active at all ages” is about starting something. It’s a call to action that will enable people to live uninterrupted safe, active and healthy lives. Now isn’t that something worth being part of?
Ashley Martin, public health adviser
Posted: 7/12/2019 11:19:55 AM