ADVICE has been issued to encourage pensioners at risk of falls to take extra care this winter.

Cheshire and Merseyside NHS say around one in three adults over 65 who live at home will have at least one fall a year and half of these people will fall more frequently. 

As the temperatures drop health bosses are expecting an increased number of people to be affected and require urgent care.

Falls are one of the main causes of older people attending under pressure accident and emergency departments and can sometimes lead to lengthy hospital stays.

Between November 2016 and February 2017, the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) responded to more than 30,000 fall related incidents in the region.

Medical director at NWAS David Ratcliffe said: “The natural ageing process means that older people have an increased risk of having a fall.

"Most falls don't result in serious injury.

"However, there's always a risk that a fall could lead to broken bones, and it can cause the person to lose confidence, become withdrawn and feel as if they've lost their independence.”

Charity director at Age UK Caroline Abrahams said: “Older people are at particular risk of falls during winter.

"The streets can be extremely slippery underfoot due to fallen leaves, accumulations of rain, ice and snow, so we would encourage all older people to take extra care when out and about.

"When weather conditions are like this a pair of sturdy shoes with non-slip soles are worth their weight in gold as they may prevent a nasty tumble and resultant injury.

“Winter can also be a lonely time for older people if the weather means they are stuck at home, so we’d also urge people to keep an eye on their older family members, friends and neighbours.

"Bringing in some shopping for them, collecting prescriptions or just stopping by to check they’re ok, and being prepared to have a friendly chat, can be of immense help and support to older people at this time of year.”

Spreading sand or salt on icy surfaces on walkways, work areas, and steps can help prevent falls.

Windy weather can also affect balance and cause a fall so advice is to avoid open and exposed places.

People are being told to wear shoes or boots with flat, low heels, a slip-resistant sole to reduce slipping hazards and a good tread that helps to grip the surface.

If you're worried about a relative or elderly neighbour, contact your local council or call the Age UK helpline on 0800 678 1174.

For medical help or advice for non life-threatening conditions call NHS 111.