Preventing falls and fractures in over 65s is the aim of a growing national movement called ‘Live Stronger for Longer’. With a focus on strength and balance exercises, the programme was developed by government agencies and health providers for people over 65 and those who care for them. It helps people to stay well and independent in their own home.
Geriatrician and ACC falls clinical advisor Dr Shankar Sankaran says a fall can be devastating for older people. “It can make them fearful of falling again, which stops them doing the things they used to do. This can lead to social isolation and even depression. “Every year, one in three people over 65 will fall. For people aged 80 and over, the risk increases to one in two. Not every fall results in an injury, but those that do can cause broken bones, which can be painful and take a long time to heal.”
The Live Stronger for Longer website www.livestronger.org.nz offers practical information and advice on how to live an active, independent life and encourages people over 65 to join community group
strength and balance classes.
“Exercise classes can help prevent falls and give older people the chance to have some fun and meet new people,” says Dr Sankaran.
There are several community group strength and balance classes in Papamoa and Mount Maunganui including:
•Strong & Stable - Papamoa Community Centre, Mondays 12.45pm; Papamoa Sport & Recreation Centre, Wednesdays, 2pm
•Keep on your Feet - Mount Bible Chapel, Mondays 10am; Proactive4Health, Papamoa Plaza, Tuesdays, 2pm
•Recycled Teenagers - St Mary’s Church Hall (Mount Maunganui), Tuesdays, 9am
•Smooth Movers - Papamoa Community Centre, Tuesdays and Fridays, 9am and 10.15am
•Global Hearts Exercise Group - Global Gym (Mount Maunganui), Fridays, 11am.
For more information about the classes visit: www.livestronger.org.nz/home/find-class/find-a-class-near-you
If you are feeling unsteady on your feet, don’t wait until you have a fall to tell your family, or health professional.
There are four key things that you can do to prevent falls:
•Improve your strength and balance - ask your doctor or nurse (or the health professional you see the most) to recommend an appropriate programme or exercises that are right for you
•Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist to review your medicines
•Get annual eye check-ups and update your glasses
Make your home safer by:
• Removing clutter and tripping hazards, including mats and rugs
• Putting railings on stairs and adding grab bars in the bathroom and toilet
• Having good lighting, especially on stairs.
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