Learn the warning signs for older people at risk

Learn the warning signs for older people at risk

Emergency Services Unite – asking the community to learn the warning signs if an older person is at risk

Emergency Services have united with Uniting to release a video series that demonstrates how to assist an older person before an emergency

People in NSW are being urged to pay more attention to older people in their communities – and learn the signs they may be at risk from serious injury or death.

The call comes from community service organisation, Uniting, along with Fire & Rescue NSW, NSW Police Force, NSW Ambulance and the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District.

“Failing memory, confusing medications and physical frailty can be easily managed but could result in a trip to the emergency department if ignored too long,” said Clinical Nurse Consultant Roslyn Millar from Uniting War Memorial Hospital at Waverley.

One of a series of videos produced asking the community to learn the warning signs if an older person is at risk.

“We urge all neighbours, friends and families to look out for those signs and prevent an emergency or serious injury.”

NSW Police Force Assistant Commissioner Max Mitchell, Corporate Sponsor for Ageing, Disability and Homelessness said a helping hand can ensure someone with memory loss doesn’t end up injured or lost. “If you see someone is lost or disorientated, helping them to get home or to call a friend could ensure their safety.”

NSW Ambulance paramedic, Mark Whittaker, said even minor stumbles could signal an older person needs assistance with balance and strengthening. “A fall doesn’t always mean a trip the hospital, but one fall can lead to another and the next time it might be more serious.”

Fire and Rescue NSW Randwick Station Officer, Andrew Walker said older people have an increased risk of fires at home as they may forget that cooking and heaters are on.  “They may have difficulty fixing or maintaining their smoke alarms, so please, keep an eye out and help them if you can.”

A series of videos is being released on social media from Sunday 24 November to raise awareness of the importance of looking out for older people.

“It’s basically just being a caring neighbour or friend,” added Ms Millar from Uniting.

People aged over 65 account for around one fifth (22%) of all hospital emergency department visits, totalling 1.6 emergency department presentations in 2016-17[1].

[1] AIHW https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/older-people/older-australia-at-a-glance/contents/health-aged-care-service-use/health-care-hospitals

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