County’s elderly encouraged to ‘pimp’ their Zimmer frames to reduce falls

Residents at the Bowthorpe Care Village with their decorated zimmer frames for the Pimp My Zimmer ev

Residents at the Bowthorpe Care Village with their decorated zimmer frames for the Pimp My Zimmer event. From left, Margaret Legrice, 85; John Woollard, 68; and Beryl Hemsley, 85. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Care home residents are being encouraged to get creative with their walking aids in a bid to reduce the number of falls.

Resident Beryl Hemsley, 85, with the certificate of achievement presented by the Lord Mayor of Norwi

Resident Beryl Hemsley, 85, with the certificate of achievement presented by the Lord Mayor of Norwich, Marion Maxwell, right, as the Bowthorpe Care Village win the Pimp My Zimmer event with their decorated zimmer frames. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

The 'Pimp my Zimmer' project challenges care homes across Norwich and South Norfolk to help elderly residents personalise their frames.

And so far, everything from knitted baubles to fairy lights has been used to give them a unique look.

But rather than being just a bit of fun, it is hoped the scheme will have a much wider benefit for those taking part.

Irene Karrouze, South Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group's care home practitioner, explained: 'Most Zimmer frames are usually grey in colour and they all tend to look the same.


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'In a care home, how do residents know if they are taking their own Zimmer frame? If they pick the wrong one and it is not measured to their size, they can fall.'

She said by personalising each walking aid, residents would be less likely to take one belonging to someone else.

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The scheme has already seen success at a care home in Essex, where there has been a reported 60pc reduction in the number of falls.

It led to Norwich and South Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Groups organising a competition to get more care homes taking part in the county.

And yesterday, Bowthorpe Care Village was judged to be the winner after its residents got particularly creative with their designs.

They were presented with a certificate from Norwich mayor Marion Maxwell for their efforts.

Care home resident and former publican Marjorie Lacey, 86, decorated her walking aid with knitting along the framework.

She said: 'I have to walk around with the Zimmer frame because it keeps me up straight and with all this on, I know its mine.'

The scheme is also said to help people living with cognitive impairment or dementia, as the standard grey frames can be hard for people to see.

Louise McGreevy, falls and dementia services coordinator with the NHS community services trust, said: 'This project is a great example of a simple idea with a very strong impact.

'It is really helpful in reducing falls risk, ensuring that people personalise and use their frame, but also has a lovely social angle and creates a great talking point, bringing different generations together.'

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