Stay Strong, Stay Steady: an exercise programme for older people

Every year, around 30% of people aged 65 and over will have a fall, which can result in a serious injury; there were over 50,000 hip fractures in England in 2014/2015 and falls account for over 4 million hospital beds each year. Maintaining – and improving – muscle strength and balance is crucial to reducing risk but research by Ipsos MORI for the Centre for Ageing Better shows that many people don’t realise how important this is.

Falls Prevention is a key intervention to help keep people independent as they get older and community-based classes are considered essential. Going ahead, it is expected that these key classes will form part of the expected referral route for all older people, depending on their level of ability. The Otago Exercise Programme (OEP) was developed at the University of Otago Medical School in New Zealand and is an evidence based programme that has proved to be very effective at preventing falls.

Age UK Somerset has worked with Somerset Public Health to implement the Otago programme – called Stay Strong, Stay Steady – in Somerset. Community-based classes are led by qualified Otago instructors and are held in community venues in the area, including Wincanton and Yeovil. The aim is to help participants improve balance and rebuild muscle strength, giving them increased confidence and a better chance of remaining independent. These specially developed classes are accesses by referral only.

Many participants will move on from Otago classes to other, Age UK Somerset, classes. From Mature Movers Classes in Martock and Templecombe, Movement to Music classes in Somerton or Tai Chi in Yeovil – there is something to suit everyone. No previous experience is necessary and all the classes are run on a pay-as-you-go basis. The focus is always on having fun.

For more information on all classes, please contact The Ageing Well team on 01823 345626 or email ageingwell@ageuksomerset.ord.uk

To see a full list of the classes available, visit www.ageuksomerset.org.uk

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