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Media note: ‘Early play vital for lifelong strength’

Injury Matters is a not-for-profit organisation that leads the way in preventing injury and supporting recovery by providing programs and services that enable Western Australians to live long and healthy lives. Injury Matters programs include Stay On Your Feet®, WA’s falls prevention program for older adults living in the community, educating community members, health professionals and community workers how to keep active and alert to prevent slips, trips and falls.

Rachel Meade, Injury Prevention Manager provided the following comments in relation to the Early play vital for lifelong strength article:

  • Injury Matters encourages the Western Australian community to recognise that’s falls are not a normal part of ageing, however action does need to be taken to prevent them. In Western Australia in 2012, there were 16,762 hospitalisations for falls, consuming an estimated 61,124 bed days at an approximate cost of $117,957,168.
  • Injury Matters strongly encourage people to be physically active at all ages, and recognise that it is never too late to start. While peak bone mass is experienced at a younger age, it is clear that gradual, age-related decline does occur. Older adults are able to retain their bone mass through regular, ongoing weight baring exercises. Specific exercises are also available for those experiencing musculoskeletal disorders including arthritis and osteoporosis. Older adults can contact Stay On Your Feet® for further information.
  • Melbourne researchers note that strong and active children can reliably be predicted to be strong and healthy adults, however physical activity should be carried on through adulthood. Injury Matters is concerned that people, particularly between their 40’s-60’s may see a fall as an older person’s problem, however starting strength and balance exercises at a younger age and carrying them through later years is the best way to falls. We remind people that the consequences of falls can be debilitating and lifelong, however they can also be prevented.
  • Social disadvantage impacts many older adults in Western Australia, and even more so in regional areas. Older adults of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds are also at a higher risk of social disadvantage and falls than non-Aboriginal Australians and are 1.3 times more likely to be hospitalised, and 2.7 times more likely to die, as a result of a fall than non-Aboriginal people.
  • Each year injury costs the Western Australian economy billions of dollars in deaths, emergency department presentations, hospitalisations and time away from work. In 2012, the total cost of injury was $9.6 billion.

Contact:  Rachel Meade

Ph: 08 9420 7212

Email:  rmeade@injurymatters.org.au

Stay On Your Feet® is provided by Injury Matters and funded by the Western Australian Department of Health.

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Government of Western Australia Department of Health Injury Matters
Injury Matters acknowledge the Whadjuk Noongar people as the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work, and recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continuing connection to land, waters and community across Western Australia.