Falls awareness week prompts cause for alarm

This National Falls Awareness Week 20-24 June, Merton Council is encouraging residents to consider the positive difference that Mascot Telecare service can make towards giving older people confidence and peace of mind.

Every year, more than three million people aged over 65, including half of those aged 80 plus, will have a fall. The consequences can be devastating, both physically and emotionally.

Poor vision, home hazards, problems with medication and lack of exercise can all play their parts in causing falls, but knowing that help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at the touch of a button gives older people living alone the confidence to live independently and safe in the knowledge that they can always get help when they need it.

Mrs Vera Andrews, 88 years old, has been a customer of Mascot Telecare service for over 16 years. In May this year Mrs Andrews had a fall at home and broke her arm, but having an experienced Mascot staff member available at the touch of a button helped her through the trauma and emotional distress of her accident. A member of staff spoke to Mrs Andrews on the phone while another staff member phoned an ambulance and visited Mrs Andrews to keep her company while she waited for the emergency response team to arrive.

“It was such a relief knowing that someone else was there for me to help me through my fall. The staff are always friendly and helpful when I call and it makes me feel safer living on my own to know that if anything ever happens, that there is help for me any time of the day or night,” said Mrs Andrews.

Mascot Telecare service celebrated its 20 year anniversary in February and already gives peace of mind to 1600 residents in the borough. It is the only personal alarm service in the borough that is run completely from one central location in Merton. Customer calls are answered in Merton and staff respond from the same office, giving customers reassurance and a personal service.

Councillor Linda Kirby, cabinet member for adult social care and health said: “As well as the physical consequences, a fall can have a devastating effect on confidence too. I was shocked to find out that, on average, people fall nine times before seeking assistance. Keeping fit and healthy and having regular eye check-ups are all ways to help prevent falls. But knowing you have the services of experienced staff available to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week means you can get with living day to day with peace of mind.”

For more information about Mascot Telecare service or to sign yourself or a loved one up to the service, visit http://www.mascot-telecare.org.uk or phone 020 8274 5940.

For information on events taking place in Merton during the week phone 020 8254 8247 and for falls prevention visit http://www.ageuk.org.uk