‘Thought I’d terrify the neighbours!’ Gory details of Gloria Hunniford’s nightmare fall

Loose Women: Gloria Hunniford 'petrified' of falling again

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Back in June of this year, the 82-year-old presenter of Rip Off Britain was left hospitalised with a broken bone under her eye and a nasty leg injury after she tripped over a rug onto a “very hard wooden floor”. On her return to ITV panel show Loose Women, which Hunniford is a regular guest, she revealed how she worries she might have developed a brain clot after the terrifying accident left her “petrified” of tumbling over again and how she refused to see anyone while her injuries healed.

Speaking to Prima UK, for which she is the cover star for their September issue, Hunniford shared: “Afterwards, I didn’t leave the house for three weeks; my eye was full of blood and I was black, blue and yellow.

“I’ve had nightmares about the impact – I’ll never forget the slap of my face on the ground… I didn’t want to see anyone for a while; I thought I’d terrify the neighbours!”

Fortunately, Gloria managed to narrowly escape permanent damage to both her eyesight or the muscles under her eye, as the bone that holds the socket in place was only cracked, not totally broken.

Yet the ordeal left quite a lasting effect on the star who also suffered from pain down her chest and a tremendous leg injury that is still healing.

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Sharing more details about her fall when appearing on Loose Women, which was her first day out since the fall, the star said: “I’m mostly worried about the eye. I feel comfortable now that I know the right person [an eye specialist] to go to if anything happened.

“I also had my chest X-rayed because there was a pain down my chest, which has, fortunately, started to go away.

“I thought it was my sternum, but I think it’s just muscle. My leg is pretty horrific looking, but it’s all still wrapped in stuff to help it to heal,” before praising the medical professionals that cared for her: “They [the NHS] were fantastic. They did my neck, they did everything they should’ve done.”

Commenting on the lasting impact of her fall, Hunniford added: “I’m a reasonably confident person usually. I don’t want to sit doing nothing, that’s why I’m here today, but it does affect your confidence.

“Even in my own garden, steps I know very well. I’m petrified of falling again. I didn’t want to walk on [to the Loose Women set] today and make some stupid mistake and fall over.

“I haven’t been able to go out to shops. I do think I’ll walk along the street now looking for uneven pavement stones and things like that. Falls are bad, this one was bad.”

Fortunately for Hunniford, the abilities of modern make-up allowed it to look like nothing had happened. Hunniford went on to say: “Then, one of my make-up artist friends brought me this magic make-up, which they use to cover tattoos on film sets.

“It’s allowed me to get back to work, which is lucky because I’m not good at taking time off. I’m fortunate that I have a job I truly love, which stimulates me.”

The fall also did not alter her can-do attitude and passion for work, as when asked about abstaining from retirement she finished by saying: “I still have ambitions – I’d love to have my own chat show again… I hope to God I can continue working – I don’t want to just sit around reading.

“As long as I have the energy and will to work, I’ll continue doing so, because I love it so much and it feeds my system. I just love a challenge. Some people will say, ‘I can’t do that.’ I say, ‘What do I have to lose? I might as well give it a shot.’”

A fall can severely affect anyone of any age, but as the NHS states, older people are more vulnerable and likely to fall, especially if they have a long-term health condition. Often a commonly overlooked cause of injury, around one in three adults over the age of 65, and half of those over 80, will suffer from at least one fall a year.

Common causes of falls

The NHS continues to explain that elderly people are more likely to have falls because they are more likely to have the following:

  • Balance problems
  • Muscle weakness
  • Vision loss
  • A long-term health condition such as heart disease, dementia or low blood pressure which can lead to dizziness.

Even for those individuals like Hunniford who have no long-term health complications or obvious ailments, the likelihood of suffering from a fall can be heightened by hazards in the home or in public places.

The NHS states that a fall is more likely to happen if:

  • Floors are wet, such as in the bathroom, or recently polished
  • The lighting in the room is dim
  • Rugs or carpets are not properly secured
  • The person reaches for storage areas, such as a cupboard, or is going down stairs
  • The person is rushing to get to the toilet during the day or at night
  • Carrying out maintenance work.

Due to the potential risk and harm that can come from falls, leading UK-based charity Age UK explains that it is important for ageing individuals to have regular check-ups so any issues can be “picked up before they cause a fall”.

In addition, the charity recommends some key tips and lifestyle habits that individuals should follow to minimise the risk of falling. These include:

  • Staying active
  • Eating well
  • Keeping hydrated
  • Taking care of your eyes
  • Checking for hearing problems
  • Managing medication
  • Support bone health
  • Choosing the right shoes.

Read the full interview in Prima’s September issue, on sale 11th August. It is available in all supermarkets and online at MagsDirect.

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