This is a transcript of my My View column that was published in the Doncaster Star on Monday 25 September, 2017
It’s the start of another busy week and today I’ll be stepping onto a specially adapted bus to support the Independent Living roadshow, as it revs up for a whistle-stop tour of the borough.
The ‘health bus’ will make its first stop at Mexborough Market Place from 10am to 3pm today (Monday) as part of a four-venue visit to show how the NHS and Doncaster Council are working together to help older people live independently in their own homes.
On board, you’ll be able to talk to specially trained staff who will give advice about maintaining your independence, staying safe and looking after your physical and mental health. It’s open to all ages and is free.
I know from talking to older patients at my surgery that being able to remain fit and active in their own home is something they prize very dearly, and want to remain doing so for as long as possible.
It’s also a key aim of Doncaster Council and local NHS organisations, as we know from research that, historically, Doncaster people have been going into residential care at a much younger age than many other parts of England.
It’s a trend we’re reviewing by developing community-based services that can support people who want to continue living at home, even when they need a little bit of extra help.
A key feature of the roadshow will be highlighting the potential dangers that exist at home which could cause older people to lose their balance and fall. NHS staff from Doncaster’s Falls Prevention Team will be on hand to give advice on how to create a safe home by removing the risks that could cause life-changing injuries.
Every home can create risks but a bit of simple advice and awareness for us all can eliminate the potential dangers, such as:
· mopping up spillages immediately
· removing clutter, trailing wires and frayed carpet
· using non-slip mats and rugs
· fitting high wattage bulbs in lamps and ceiling lights
· getting help to do things you’re not able to do safely on your own
· not walking on slippery floors in socks or tights
· not wearing loose-fitting clothes that could trip you up
· wearing well-fitting shoes that are in good condition and support your ankles
· taking care of your feet by trimming your toenails regularly ankle and seeing your GP or chiropodist about any foot problems
There will be plenty of staff on hand to talk to, including representatives from the Age UK charity. So if you, or someone you know has had a fall, or is at risk of having a fall, or if you’re finding daily life a struggle, please visit the bus when it’s in your area. From 10am to 3pm it will be at:
Tuesday 26 Sept Doncaster town centre: St Sepulchre Gate
Wednesday 27 Sept Bessacarr: Asda, Bawtry Road
Friday 29 Sept Thorne: Vermuyden Centre