Kiri is a digital journalist for bayofplentytimes.co.nz.

Bay fall injuries cost $80m

Add a comment
Age Concern Tauranga general manager Tanya Smith. Photo/ George Novak
Age Concern Tauranga general manager Tanya Smith. Photo/ George Novak

Fall-related injures suffered by Western Bay residents have cost ACC more than $80 million over the past three years, with most of the claims coming from senior citizens.

New figures show people aged over 65 living in the Western Bay made 23,948 claims for injuries sustained from falls in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

"If you have a fall and it's knocked you around a bit, you can lose your confidence to do even leave your home because you're so worried about hurting your hip or breaking your arm.''
Tauranga Age Concern general manager Tanya Smith

Of those falls, soft tissue injury was by far the most common ailment with local seniors suffering 62,821soft tissue injuries. This was followed by 17,866 lacerations and then 10, 683 fractured bones or dislocation.

Nationally falls from seniors cost the country about $163m, and this is projected to reach between $296m and $418m annually by 2025.

ACC Minister Nikki Kaye and Minister for Seniors Maggie Barry this week announced $30.5m would be invested in programmes aimed at preventing falls and resulting injuries.

Ms Kaye said the $30.5m was a significant investment towards injury prevention.

"Loss of muscle strength, deteriorating eyesight, the side-effects of medication and trip hazards in the home can all contribute to a fall.

Have your say at our Facebook page

"Many of us will know someone who's had a fall and witnessed the devastating impact it's had on them. This is about providing more support for mums, dads, grandmas and granddads, to help them have the best quality of life," she said.

Tauranga Age Concern was one of several branches throughout country running a pilot programme on fall prevention for seniors.

General manager Tanya Smith said the programme had been successful and another eight classes were planned before Christmas.

''It just gives them their confidence back. If you have a fall and it's knocked you around a bit, you can lose your confidence to do even leave your home because you're so worried about hurting your hip or breaking your arm.''

Ms Smith said some seniors felt isolated and too scared to socialise in fear they might experience another fall. The classes helped to alleviate this, she said.

The number of people aged 65 years and older is expected to double to around 1.2 million by 2035, when they will make up almost one quarter of the population.

- Bay of Plenty Times

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 06 Dec 2016 17:01:20 Processing Time: 372ms