Wokingham Borough’s population is changing, with the introduction of multiple housing developments the population is set to grow, and with this the number of older people is predicted to increase. With this increase in population there will be a need to keep older people as active and independent as possible. One in three people aged over 65, and half of those aged over 80, fall at least once a year (Todd and Skelton 2004). Falls are the most common cause of death from injury in the over 65s, and many falls result in fractures and/or head injuries. Falls cost the NHS more than £2 billion per year and also have a knock-on effect on productivity costs in terms of carer time and absence from work (Snooks et al 2011).
Within Wokingham Borough there is programme called Steady Steps. This is a specialist falls prevention exercise programme for people aged 60+ who have fallen or are worried about falling. The programme is run over 30 weeks in blocks of 10 weeks at a time. It is a group exercise with no more than 12 people in any one group. It is a GP referral scheme so anyone participating must see their GP or other health professional first in order for them to generate a referral.
The SHINE programme, is aimed at keeping older people active, which in turn helps with health, stability and muscle tone which all contributes to helping to prevent falls. Activities range from Line Dancing, Tai Chi, Pilates, Yoga and much more.
Visit the SHINE webpage to find out how to join.
In addition to the physical activity based prevention services Wokingham Borough Council’s Occupational Therapist and Assessment teams accept referrals regarding falls. If necessary the teams will provide a home visit and undertake and environmental assessment which can lead to the instalment of grab rails.
As well as the services ran by the Local Authority, Berkshire Healthcare Foundation trust has a falls prevention team that is able to come out and visit people in their own homes to identify and address any falls risks before they become a problem.