Health chiefs in Salford are looking to launch a film festival with a difference, with creative members of the public supplying the films.

They want to bring to life the ‘Usual Suspects’ – Grimy Glasses, Sloppy Slippers, Rucked-up Rug, Trailing Cable and Tonza Clutter – five notorious characters who are responsible for 90% of falls among older people.

The films need to show how the gang operate but how easy it is to keep them under control – and the most popular one will win £500 in shopping vouchers.

Salford has one of the highest rates of falls causing injuries requiring hospital admission amongst older people in Greater Manchester – with one in three adults aged over 65 falling at least once a year.

Nationally the NHS spends £15 million a year on treating injuries from falls, with another £2 billion spent on treating hip fractures. In 2009* 3,500 people died as a direct result of falling.

“Behind all these statistics are people whose lives have been changed or families and friends left grieving. We want to use the characters to remind people that the usual suspects are just lying in wait to trip them up but are easily tackled and kept under control,” said Councillor Tracy Kelly, lead member for adult services, health and wellbeing.

Dr Tom Tasker, GP and Chair of Salford CCG said: “Older people are more at risk of breaking bones if they fall – and that can land them in hospital for long periods or even see them having to go into a care home. Even if they escape serious injury they can become more wary of going out after a fall and become more isolated as a result.

“As well as tackling the usual suspects, people at risk of falling are being advised to check their medication is right and not causing balance problems, have regular eye tests and keep active with regular exercise.”

And Mat Jones Director of City West Housing Trust, which is backing the campaign, added: “When we spoke to older people about falls they told us they value their independence very highly. If we can help them be aware of the ‘usual suspects’ and avoid them then we can make sure they continue to live independently for as long as possible.”

The plan is to bring each character to life either individually or all together in a film which is no more than 90 seconds long and show how they operate and how to beat them. The films will be uploaded to You Tube and the public will vote for their favourite. People will be encouraged to share the films with older relatives – or look out for and deal with the hazards the gang create around the home.

The closing date is noon on Friday August 25.


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