Stay strong and steady to help prevent a fall

Research confirms that anyone wanting to reduce their risk of having a fall will benefit from attending local Stay Strong Stay Steady classes to improve strength and balance.

The classes, a joint venture between Age UK Somerset and Somerset County Council, provide an opportunity to meet others whilst building and maintaining strength, balance and confidence in movement which are invaluable in helping people live independently as they age, reducing their risk of a fall.

This advice follows the publication of new research from the Centre for Ageing Better and the University of Manchester’s Healthy Ageing Research Group which advocates the benefits of strength and balance exercise.

Somerset County Council’s Public Health team, along with Age UK Somerset, have been supporting this important research on how to provide services to reduce risk of falls.

Somerset was chosen as one of three areas in the country to provide in depth information for the report, and the Stay Strong Stay Steady classes in Somerset were featured as a case study in the report.

Louise Ansari, Director of Communications and Influencing, Centre for Ageing Better, said: “Improving and retaining strength and balance is vital for our wider health. Despite common misconceptions, falls are not an inevitable part of ageing and can be prevented. Evidence tells us that strength and balance programmes reduce the risk of falls, but lack of communication and effective referral pathways can mean poor or non-existent provision.

“If we can enable and encourage more people to take up activities to boost their strength and balance, there is significant potential to make savings to health and social care services and help people stay healthy and keep on doing everyday activities for longer.”

Di Ramsay, Ageing Well Manager, Age UK Somerset, said: “We are very fortunate to have such a strong and skilled team to deliver our ‘Stay Strong, Stay Steady’ classes all across Somerset.”

Here are some things people say about the Somerset Stay Strong Stay Steady classes:
‘While it is only four weeks since starting I have noticed a difference in my confidence, such that I now ‘slide out’ in my walking, which has been rubbish for many years – I have a dream to take up line dancing!’ Tom (83)

‘I now walk to my neighbours, which I have been unable to do before’ Joan (84)

‘My balance is improving, and the class is really good’ Margaret (79)

‘A work in progress making me more confident’ Anne (75)

Trudi Grant, Director of Public Health at Somerset County Council said: “Joining a Stay Strong, Stay Steady group can be a great way to make new friends as well as improving your balance and confidence and reducing your risk of a fall, so why not join them? If you can’t get to a group there are other tips on exercises on the Age UK Somerset website. As a county with a dynamic and substantial older population we want to support everyone to be active throughout their life.”

Stay Strong, Stay Steady sessions, led by qualified instructors, take place at venues across the whole of Somerset. For more information, check out https://www.ageuk.org.uk/somerset/our-services/ageing-well-exercise-sessions/stay-strong-stay-steady/

Alternatively, contact Age UK Somerset, phone 01823 345626 or email: ageingwell@ageuksomerset.org.uk

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For more information, please contact the Press Office on 01823 355020 or email pressoffice@somerset.gov.uk.

Notes to editors:
Somerset has one of the higher rates of emergency hospital admissions due to falls in the country for the over 85 age group. In Somerset around 3,000 people aged 65 and over are admitted to hospital each year as a result of a fall. Many more falls do not result in a hospital admission but nevertheless cause pain and incapacity. They can also knock confidence to move around leading to social isolation.
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