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We offer tailored, evidence-based exercise class to assist older people who have experience falls or are considered to be at high-risk of falling.

Referrals for this service are only accepted from a falls prevention physiotherapist.

Eligible people are offered a supervised one hour group exercise session. This is weekly for a period up to 9 months and is free. The aim of the programme is to prevent falls by improving the gait, balance, co-ordination, muscular strength, flexibility and confidence of those who have had a recent fall or been identified as being at high risk of having a fall. The service is funded by Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

What happens at our classes?

Instructors use a variety of strength, balance, co-ordination, flexibility and chair exercises tailored to the individual's abilities. There is an emphasis on the education and empowerment of all participants.
The progress of each individual attending the classes is monitored regularly against the initial tests completed by the Physiotherapists.

Who delivers our classes?

The classes are delivered by qualified Postural Stability instructors. This PSI qualification is the first and only, evidence based, accredited and endorsed. Level 4 falls prevention qualification available in the UK. Registered exercise professionals complete specialised training on falls prevention for older people.

How often do we run classes?

The exercise classes take place at 7 different venues throughout Oldham to provide:

  • 10 classes weekly
  • 120 places weekly


Comments from participants

  • "They are helping to keep me more relaxed, and I'm more steady on my feet. I don't seem to trip over my own feet as often as I did. I have more confidence to walk."
  • "I feel I'm getting benefit from attending the class by the strengthening of muscles."
  • "I have enjoyed the classes very much. Everyone is very friendly. Mentally I feel better. Meeting other people seems to help."
  • "I have enjoyed going out and taking part. It has given me more confidence."
  • "The class has helped me to have more confidence and also enjoy the friendship of new people. I have noticed an improvement in my arthritis, balance, and general confidence."


Falls awareness events

Falls prevention awareness events take place over a two week period each year. Older people, as well as their families and carers, need to know how to prevent falls and to access the services that can help to reduce the risk of falls. By working with the public, the media, relevant health, health improvement, social care, housing and voluntary sector agencies in Oldham. The aim of this health promotion event is to raise awareness of steps that can be undertaken to prevent falls and osteoporosis.


Effects of falls

The effects of a fall on an older person can be devastating. Falls are a major cause of disability and the leading cause of mortality due to injury in older people aged over 75 in the UK.

However, the effects are not only physical, a fall can have a serious psychological effect on older people, robbing them of their independence and leading to increased isolation.

The National Service Framework for Older People identifies the following points:

  • 30% of people over the age of 65 and nearly 50% of over 80s fall each year
  • Falls precipitate admission to long-term care. After a fracture, 50% of older people can no longer live independently
  • Hip fractures cost the NHS £1.7 billion per year in England alone and result in over 14,000 deaths
  • Programmes which provide training in balance help older people reduce their risk of falling

 


Benefits of attending classes

Research into ageing and exercise has shown that exercise can increase the stamina of an older person and increase their capacity for independent living by 10-20 years (Aoyagi and Shephard).

In the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and Strategy Falls and Osteoporosis report Jon Hobday, Speciality Registrar in Public Health, Public Health Directorate, NHS Oldham states:

'There is clear evidence that falls programmes can reduce falls and prevent the fear of falling, as well as improve quality of life following falls. In addition there is literature to suggest, and focus group results to confirm, that falls programmes have much wider benefits than this. They have a major impact on mental well-being by reducing isolation, improving independence and reducing depression. The increased independence and confidence gained reduces reliance on carers and families and the exercise sessions can act as carer breaks for several hours at a time.'


Accessing this service

This service can only be accessed via a referral from a falls prevention physiotherapist. If you have any queries, please get in touch using the contact details below.


Contact

Julie McBride - Health & Wellbeing Coordinator
Phone: 0161 770 4507 / 0161 633 0213
Email: julie.mcbride@ageukoldham.org.uk

Further information