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RoSPA is backing Older People’s Day, which takes place tomorrow, in the hope that it will foster a culture of health and happiness among the UK’s ageing population.

With more people living longer, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents feels it’s more important than ever to acknowledge the opportunities and challenges that face some of the most vulnerable members of our society.

According to the government, half of the UK’s population will be aged 50 or over by 2020.
Improved living standards, better healthcare, greater awareness of the importance of a healthy diet and the need for regular exercise have led to more and more people enjoying life well into their 80s and 90s.

But older people, particularly the frail elderly, remain one of the groups most vulnerable to accidents, particularly in and around the home.

Those over 75 years of age are especially at risk, suffering both the highest mortality rate and the most severe injuries.

Statistics for 2009-10 show that nearly 300,000 people aged over 75 spent time in hospital in England after suffering an accident. The biggest threats come from: falls, fires, poisoning, burns and scalds, and hypothermia.

Many of the fatal and non-fatal accidents to older people (with women more vulnerable than men) are attributable wholly, or in part, to frailty and failing health. This can lead to failure or slowness to see and avoid risks. By drawing the attention of older people and carers to danger spots and unsafe habits, the risk of accidents can be reduced and the quality of life maintained.

Sheila Merrill, RoSPA’s public health adviser, said: “It’s good news that many more of us are living longer.

“But with an ageing population comes the need to identify and manage certain hazards - especially in the home, where accidents such as slips and trips are an all-too-common occurrence.

“If we take steps to better protect family and friends from easy-to-prevent accidents, then we can all share the prospect of a longer life that’s happier and healthier.”

Hundreds of events - sitting under the “Full of Life” banner - are expected to take place across the country on Saturday, October 1. The day, which is now in its fifth year, will coincide with the UN International Day for Older Persons.

This year’s theme is “getting and staying active in later life”. The purpose is to get people out and about and to promote the benefits that physical, social and mental activity brings.
Hundreds of events are expected to take place across the country to mark the occasion. For details visit the government webpage:

For more advice about preventing accidents to older people visit:

For photographs and other requests email: [email protected] or call 0121 248 2135.

Note to broadcasters: RoSPA has its own ISDN studio.

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