Falls are a common cause of injury, hospital admission, and even death in people of all ages, but especially in older adults. Older people are much more likely to have a fall, and the consequences of a fall can be worse. Falls can cause permanent disability, loss of independence, and loss of social contact.
The community-based Falls Prevention Service aims to help people who have fallen in the past 12 months, who are worried about falling, or whose leg strength and balance could be improved. This is a free service that doctors or other health professionals can refer their patients to.
The Falls Prevention Service involves a registered health professional (called a Falls Champion) coming to an older person's home to do a home hazard check and work with them to plan an exercise programme.
Your Falls Champion may recommend one or more of the following:
- Home-based multi-component exercise programmes with an emphasis on strength and balance.
- Modified Otago Exercise Programme which involves a physiotherapist or registered nurse designing an exercise programme to increase muscle strength and balance. It includes free follow-up visits and phone calls.
- Community group Strength and balance classes that focus on improving lower body and core strength and balance. Activities include stretching and flexibility, some "huff and puff", as well as dancing, circuit work, Tai Chi or Zumba.
Sport Canterbury works with ACC to implement the Community Group Strength and Balance Programme in Canterbury. This involved supporting local physical activity providers to help them deliver approved Community Group Strength and Balance classes that meet the Ministry of Health criteria.
Find a community group strength and balance class near you. No referral is needed to attend these classes.
You can also contact Lily Purdon at Sport Canterbury for more information (027 771 7473 or lily.purdon[at]sportcanterbury.org.nz).