AN initiative is being held in Barrhead to offer advice to elderly people on ways of protecting themselves from a fall.

The Falls Prevention Month project is being staged at the town’s Voluntary Action East Renfrewshire (VAER) base throughout January in a bid to safeguard pensioners from a tumble, especially during the winter months.

Advice will be dished out by members of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service on how homes can be made safer to try to reduce the number of calls made to the Scottish Ambulance Service.

Specialist physiotherapists, occupational therapists and nurses will also be on hand to offer tips on what can be done to ensure pensioners are steadier on their feet.

Figures from East Renfrewshire’s Health and Social Care Partnership reveal that one in three people aged over 65 falls each year, while more than half of those over the age of 80 will suffer a trip.

Older adults who fall are three times more likely to fall again within a year and it is estimated that between 10 and 25 per cent of those individuals will sustain a serious injury.

Across Scotland, around 18,000 older people are admitted to hospital each year after suffering a fall.

Organisers are hopeful the Falls Prevention Month will allay any fears pensioners may have about venturing outside during the colder months.

Francesca McKay, VAER development worker, who is leading the initiative, told the Barrhead News: “Talking to older people, I learned that many of them were worried about falling and this could make them reluctant to leave the house.

“They were missing out on opportunities to meet people and, as a result of this, were becoming lonely.

“On the other hand, carers have told me that they are worried that their parent or their partner might fall if they were left alone in the house.

“This seemed a major worry and I wanted to do something positive about it.”

Anne Kidd, chief executive officer at VAER, added: “After the festive break, January can feel a bit depressing.

“We thought we would offer people a bit of fun this new year while also addressing an important issue and helping people to avoid falls.”

VAER is hosting a number of activities designed to get older people out of the house and able to meet others.

As well as the falls prevention workshops, there are also card-making events, football memories groups, body-boosting bingo and chair-based exercise classes to get involved in.

All taster workshops, aimed at improving participants’ strength and balance, are taking place at VAER’s Kelburn Street offices in Barrhead.

Tea, coffee and biscuits will be made available at each session.

For more information, call the VAER team on 0141 876 9555 or click here.