north yorkshire county councilNorth Yorkshire County Council is supporting Balance Awareness Week, a global campaign to raise awareness of inner ear disorders, which cause dizziness and balance problems.

Balance Awareness Week runs from 12 to 18 September and supporting it is part of the County Council’s work to prevent falls caused by balance disorders such as Menieres disease, labrynithitis and tinnitus, other medical conditions and avoidable hazards at home and when out and about.

The County Council’s falls coordinator, Gail McCracken, and colleagues from the living well team will join other health and social care professionals and retailers of specialist appliances at an information event organised by Yorkshire Spinners, a support group in the Harrogate area for all sufferers of balance disorders.

The group was founded in 2013 by balance sufferer Lianne Taylor to educate people about the isolation and loneliness balance conditions can bring through not being able to work or drive and creating problems with relationships with family and friends.

Lianne said: “As a balance sufferer myself for over six years, I suffer with many symptoms, including swaying when walking and vertigo. Vertigo is a debilitating condition in which sufferers feel either they are spinning or their surroundings are spinning around them.  It also includes nausea and the only way I can make these symptoms subside is to lie down flat, which can take from minutes to several hours.  These attacks have caused me to have falls and this has meant I have become isolated and alone in my own home.

“This year I had to ring a local organisation in Harrogate to do a repair on a leak in my bathroom. I was told I would have to wait 10 to 15 days and to put a towel on the floor until they could come out. I explained that I couldn’t do this because I have a balance and mobility problem.

“It made me realise that if there was a lack of knowledge about balance issues at this organisation, then others also needed to know more, so Yorkshire Spinners has set up the first balance event in Harrogate with the County Council and its partners.”

The Yorkshire Spinners awareness event is at St Peter’s Church Centre, Cambridge Street,
Harrogate, on September 13 between 10am and 3.30pm and everyone is welcome. The information on hand will be particularly useful to carers as well as balance sufferers themselves.

“Our falls co-ordinator is joining forces with our living well team at the Yorkshire Spinners event,” said County Councillor David Chance, Executive Member for Stronger Communities and Public Health. “Falls prevention work is a key initiative for us and reflects the fact that all healthcare professionals take falls very seriously because of the significant impact they can have on a person’s health and wellbeing.

“Some older people may be reluctant to seek help and advice from their GP and other support services about preventing falls, because they believe their concerns won’t be taken seriously, but you should discuss any falls you’ve had with your GP and say if it’s had any impact on your health and wellbeing. Your GP can carry out some simple balance tests to check whether you’re at an increased risk of falling in the future. They can also refer you to useful services in your local area.

“And if you’ve fallen in the past, making changes to reduce your chances of having a fall can also help you overcome any fear of falling.”

For more information on Yorkshire Spinners and the Harrogate event, contact Lianne on 07895 771125 or emailliannetaylor89@yahoo.com.

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