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JACQUELINE-HOOTON

Jacqueline Hooton: Elderly falls & benefits of exercise for older adults

Fitness coach Jacqueline Hooton describes her experiences of supporting her parents' independence.

May 25, 2023

Jacqueline Hooton fitness coach with elderly parents

Jacqueline Hooton is a fitness coach and personal trainer who helps older women get strong, fit and healthy and enjoy optimal ageing. We asked Jacqueline to describe her experiences of supporting her parents' independence.

Please don’t worry, I’m okay now but I had a fall earlier today.

Jacqueline's mother

Despite telling me not to worry, I was understandably anxious when I received this message from my mother recently.

My father is eighty-five years old, and my mother is eighty. They have lived in their seaside cottage for over fifty years, and it’s where I grew up. They love the memories the house contains for them, its proximity to the beach, and the south facing garden that my father tends to throughout the year.

Jacqueline Hooton with parents
Source: @hergardengym

My parents are fully mobile and although they take some medications, as many people do in later life, they are both relatively well and fiercely independent. My father swims in the sea throughout the warmer months of the year and at the local leisure centre in the winter months. He plays golf once a week, rides his bike around the village, is always up a ladder fixing something, and is a keen gardener.

My mother is very creative and enjoys crochet and dressmaking. She loves brain challenging activities like crosswords and Sudoku as well. Using an indoor upright bike, and engaging in resistance exercises using handheld weights, my mother is also working to maintain her mobility and strength.

I live a five-minute walk away from my parents, so when I received the message from my mother telling me she’d had a fall, I was able to visit her straight away.

I was concerned when I saw her as her face was bloodied and bruised, and she had sustained several other cuts and bruises to her limbs. Luckily, she didn’t break anything though.

Jacqueline Hooton

My parents are more fortunate than many older adults who live alone. On the day my mother fell she knew my father would eventually find her. However, she fell over in the garden at the back of the house, my father was in the front of the house at the time and didn’t hear her calling for help.

I couldn’t get up again so instead I tried to crawl. I was looking for something I could bang or make a sound with to attract your father’s attention.

Jacqueline's mother

This experience made me, and them, realise that despite my parents relatively good health, and having one another, they are still potentially vulnerable. If my father had been out swimming or playing golf when my mother fell, she could have been left laying in the garden for some considerable time.

Unfortunately, this is an all too familiar scenario for many older adults. The statistics are quite alarming, one in three over 65s and one in two over 80s will experience at least one fall this year, and 10-15% of all emergency calls for people aged over 65 are falls related.

 

Practical steps and safety tips to reduce the risk of falls as we grow older include:

  • Strength training to maintain muscular strength and function.
  • Balance exercises to help maintain the ability to balance.
  • Hearing tests and the use of hearing aids if required as loss of hearing impacts balance.
  • Regular sight tests as visual disturbances affect balance.
  • Review of any medications and regular health checks including blood pressure.
  • Making sure the environment is safe and reducing the risk of falls in the home by keeping walkways clear and clutter free, good lighting, and wearing well-fitting footwear.
  • Avoiding alcohol or reducing the amount consumed.


Jacqueline's parents discussing care needs
Source: @hergardengym

Taking a proactive approach means once these preventative measures are in place, a contingency plan will also be beneficial. As my parents have addressed the preventative measures, together we started to discuss contingency plans.

Whilst I only live a short distance away, and could get to my parents quickly if required, this relies on one of my parents being able to contact me.

If someone has a fall and can’t get to a phone, they may not be able to summon help, and in some cases, people may fall and sustain a significant injury or lose consciousness.

Jacqueline Hooton

 

So, we were interested to hear about the range of Taking Care personal alarms and how they can support people to feel safer in their own homes, or when out and about. At first my mother objected and said she wasn’t ‘old’ enough to need a personal alarm. But the more we looked at the benefits the more she started to feel it was a viable solution.

I got very cold and uncomfortable waiting in the garden for your father to find me. I’m just thankful he wasn’t in the village at the time, or goodness knows how long I’d have been laying there!

Jacqueline's mother

A Taking Care alarm connects the alarm user quickly, at the touch of a button, to the 24/7 UK-based Emergency Resolution Team who will arrange help from nominated contacts or the emergency services. With features like elderly fall alerts and GPS tracking, an alarm provides extra reassurance even if the alarm user is unable speak.

Taking Care Anywhere personal alarm

My mother has opted for the Taking Care Anywhere personal alarm which includes an in-home digital alarm unit, and a GPS pendant she wears around her neck.

The pendant is lightweight, and looks like a piece of jewellery’ is how she described it to her cousin who was interested to hear about the alarm.

Jacqueline Hooton

In my work as personal trainer I encourage people to embrace activity to support healthier ageing.

I’m able to support and coach my mother in safe and effective exercise, to maintain her muscular strength and balance, and her cardiovascular health.

But my mother now has the added reassurance that should she experience a fall, in her home or garden, or out and about, the GPS tracker pendant will detect this and send an alert to the Emergency Resolution Centre.

Strength and balance exercises

As a fitness coach and personal trainer, Jacqueline Hooton helps older adults remain fit and healthy. Read Jacqueline's recommended strength and balance exercises.

Strength and balance exercises

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

Download brochure

Ways to support independent living

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

Download brochure