Having a fall can have a serious impact on anyone's life - but for older people the consequences are even greater, including a loss of independence, mobility and confidence as well as the time it takes to recover.
That's why Hampshire County Council and Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust have teamed up to prevent falls and keep older people independent for as long as possible by organising Steady and Strong community exercise classes across the county.
The benefits of exercise for general health are widely recognised - but specific, tailored exercises improve strength and balance and help reduce falls and injuries by 50%. By preventing falls, older people's chances of staying independent at home are significantly increased and they can continue to live an active lifestyle.
Hampshire County Council's Executive Member for Adult Social Care, Councillor Felicity Hindson said: "When older people have a fall it can have devastating results so prevention makes a lot of sense. By keeping fit and mobile, older people can help themselves to stay independent in their own home, which is what everyone wants.
"Steady and Strong classes help older people gain strength and confidence in their mobility. The classes are also sociable and fun and people benefit from the encouragement of others. A wide range of health professionals are now signposting older people to the new classes but you can also contact the instructor yourself if you feel at risk of falling because you're unsteady or have lost confidence in getting out and about."
There are classes running in most parts of Hampshire in a variety of locations including church halls, community centres, leisure centres and sheltered housing schemes. Classes are all taught by qualified postural stability instructors, who have been specifically trained to reduce falls in older people.
Pamela from Hythe fell on her sternum (chest bone) last year. As a result, she was worried about going out, had to use a walking aid and experienced considerable pain. Her GP recommended the Steady and Strong classes at Hythe Medical Centre and after only a few classes, Pamela is walking outside for 20 minutes each day, has virtually no pain and is confident about going out: "After attending the classes and listening to Gilly the instructor, I have more confidence and believe in what I can do. It's the right teaching for us older people."
To find out more about local classes in your area call Sophie Jevons, Falls Prevention Coordinator on 01962 846605, or email: email@example.com