Wearing the Geriatric Simulation Empathy Suit, we experienced first-hand how hard it is to get up from a fall when you're an elderly person.
Falls are among the most common causes of injuries in people over 65.
A third of people in this age range will experience a fall each year, with this figure rising to half of people over the age of 80.*
It's vital to understand how difficult it is to get up from a fall.
Although falls don't always result in serious injuries, they can have a major impact on a person's confidence and well-being and cause them to feel like they're losing their independence.
The natural ageing process means our muscles become weaker and we experience problems with balance. Long-term health conditions and loss of vision can also cause us to lose our balance and fall.
If you or someone you support suffers from a fall, the best thing is for the person to remain calm.
If you are strong enough to get up, this should be done slowly.
The best way to get up is to roll onto your hands and knees and use something stable like a piece of furniture to support yourself.
If you are unable to get up from the floor, reaching for something warm like a blanket can provide some comfort while waiting for help. Keeping a mobile phone in your pocket means it's easier to get help when a fall happens when you're alone.
Age UK has a range of ideas to make the home safer for older people.
To understand the problems faced by elderly people, it's important to experience their challenges.
We created the fall challenge to see how we would cope getting ourselves off the floor.
The suit restricted our movements and made it very difficult for us to move our bodies:
Wearing the geriatric suit, really gave us an insight into how difficult it is to move our bodies. We developed a greater level of empathy for elderly patients and the struggles they face with daily living challenges:
It was incredibly hard to get off the floor. The suit affected the way our legs move and the weight made it so much harder to lift ourselves off the floor. The glasses and headphones were very disorientating and once we got up to a standing position we felt very dizzy and off balance.
*NHS Falls https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/falls/