We offer tailored, evidence-based exercise class to assist older people who have experienced 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?
We have returned to face to face classes with additional 'virtual classes' on zoom. We currently have 12 face-to-face classes every week at 8 different venues in Oldham. We are also offering 4 classes a week on zoom so that more people can join in.
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 prevention awareness work takes place throughout the course of the 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 our health promotion work 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 - you can speak to your GP or Practice Nurse about making a referral for you. If you have any queries about the process, please get in touch using the contact details below.
Teresa Griffiths - Engagement & Wellbeing Coordinator
Phone: 0161 622 9267 / 07841 344 194