Warning to elderly as falls rise in icy weather

ELDERLY Wigan folk have been urged to stay indoors as much as possible until the big freeze ends.

Health chiefs say there has been an increase in the number of OAPs admitted to hospital following falls on ice, some of them with serious breaks.

And Dr Paul Turner, consultant in public health for NHS Ashton Leigh and Wigan, says that some fractures can prove to have devastating, if not fatal, consequences for victims.

Wigan continues to be gripped by sub-zero temperatures and heavy frosts which have made ungritted roads and pavements treacherous.

And pensioners are the most likely to fall and also to suffer serious injuries.

Dr Turner said: “During the present weather conditions falls are very common and lead to an increase in wrist and hip fractures particularly in older people.

“We recommend that people do not venture out on untreated pavements unless they really have to and if they do, that they have adequate footwear.

“We also ask that people check on elderly neighbours, friends or relatives to ensure that they have adequate supplies of food so that they do not have to go out.”

Dr Turner said that he did not have exact figures of the number of fall admissions but he was aware from conferencing with colleagues over managing beds that there are a number of elderly people in the local hospitals with fractures.

One of the most serious is a break to the neck of femur which particularly plagues older women because of their heightening susceptibility to osteoporosis.

And Dr Turner said: “I know from experience that such injuries can have terrible consequences. I recall several patients who were women in their late 70s or early 80s who also had mild dementia and the trauma from a neck of femur fracture was so great that they died.

“We don’t want to be the nanny state but do think that people should take precautions.

“The forecasts suggest that temperatures will rise above zero again on Thursday but there’s no way of telling whether they will drop again later.”