On the 1st October 2018 Age UK, RoSPA, First Aid for Life and Fit for Safety launched the Stay Safe for Older People at The Royal Hospital Chelsea. The Stay Safe for Older People portal is a free information and resource website signposting older people and their family, friends and carers, to the wealth of available expert advice and support – ranging from safety in the home to avoidance of scams – under one easy to use umbrella site. It brings together materials and guidance from key organisations and experts to make it easier for older people and those who care for them to access vital knowledge when they need it, helping to ensure their safety and wellbeing and ultimately avoid hospital admissions arising from preventable accidents.
Dame Esther Rantzen phoned to give her support: “It is really important that older people are given the confidence to be able to enjoy life without fearing accidents or swindles which make them and their families anxious about their safety. This is a really wonderful project and I wish it every success”.
And Hugh Pym – the BBC Health Correspondent, joined us at the launch: “There is so much pressure on the NHS and Social Care System and with winter approaching; any initiative that can help people look after themselves and their families is very important.”
Carolyn Cripps OBE, co-founder of Stay Safe for Older People was inspired to start Stay Safe as: “having worked with numerous organisations and Executive Committees as trainer and consultant – from the educational committees of the London Home and Water Safety Council, National Home Safety Committee, RoSPA and Age UK – I was well aware of the wealth of expertise available to help older people. However, all these organisations work disparately and Stay Safe for Older People has enabled unique co-working sharing and collaboration to bring a holistic outlook to help older people in a way that has hitherto not been possible.
“We sincerely hope that this incredible collaboration will lead to increased awareness of the resources available and consequently a major reduction in victims of frauds, scams and accidents – not only benefitting older people and those who look after them, but also to society, social services and the NHS as a whole.”
Emma Hammett RGN, co-founder: “When older people are scammed or have an accident it knocks their confidence and they become vulnerable. They often stop going out, become isolated and frail and too frequently end up in hospital. Being aware of potential hazards getting prompt, expert, information when you need it, can prevent these incidents in the first place and help people move forward, saving the older person and all involved in their care from the utter devastation that can occur when things go wrong.
Having looked after older people both in a professional capacity and as a family member people simply don’t know the extent of the information and support available and it is almost impossible to find it. There are loads of incredible organisations working in isolation; our hub uniquely brings them all together in an easily accessible website to signpost older people and those who care for them to the wealth of invaluable information when they need it. Having access to these resources and being properly informed will prevent numerous avoidable accidents and frauds occurring in the first place.”
The initiative has the support of Bournemouth University’s Professor Keith Brown, one of the UK’s leading experts on financial scam prevention among vulnerable people. He says: “Our research has shown the impact of being scammed can have devastating effects not only on the individual’s confidence and independence, but their family and communities, the health service and society as a whole. Often the fraud is the catalyst and can often result in the victim requiring residential care or admission to hospital. This is why I fully endorse the vital support offered by Stay Safe for Older People empowering people with resources and information to help them feel safe, supported and able to cope.”
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Matthew Ryder, Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement highlighted the broader contribution initiatives such as Stay Safe for Older People can make towards the creation of age-friendly cities. Speaking at the launch, Matthew Ryder said: “Stay Safe supports our mission to make London a city where everyone can thrive and focuses our attention on improving the lives of older Londoners by providing support, interactive workshops and of course, Stay Safe Week.”
Throughout the week there were various events, including a fabulous mini Conference at Age UK London at which Ashley Martin RoSPA – spoke on accident prevention in older people and Emma Hammett – First Aid for Life spoke about Poisoning. It was an extremely well attended event with a waiting list!
Further information about Poisoning in older people and Emma’s talk can be found on our blog.