Feb 10 2012 by Stuart Wilson, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
THE fear of taking a fall can be one of life’s great fears for the elderly.
Now, thanks to a free exercise programme, people aged over 65 are being urged to stay strong on their feet.
Invigor8 is a new falls prevention programme which is running at Ayr’s Citadel Centre.
Councillor Hugh Hunter, who chairs of the Community Health Partnership (CHP), insisted the idea can help keep older people feeling confident.
He said: “Invigor8 is an innovative programme designed to meet the needs of older people in our communities at risk of falls.
“Funding for the initiative has come from the Scottish Governments Change Fund, which supports the Reshaping Care for Older People programme.
“South Ayrshire CHP received an allocation of £1.9 million to invest in improving services.
“Demographic change in South Ayrshire over the next 20 years will see an increase of 50 per cent in people aged over 75 and 124 per cent in people over 85 years.
“Participating in Invigor8 will make a huge difference for many people, by reducing their risk of having a fall, improving their physical wellbeing and boosting their confidence.”
One in three people aged 65 and over experience a fall each year.
But medics argue that falling is not a symptom of getting old – and by doing specific strength and balance exercises, the risks can be markedly reduced.
Dr Heather Hall, who specialises in falls at NHS Ayrshire and Arran, said: “Invigor8 is an evidence-based service which meets the needs of the people who are most at risk of falling.
“We know that to reduce the numbers of people who suffer falls in Ayrshire and Arran, we need to deliver a 50 week exercise programme focused on improving an individual’s strength and balance.
“This partnership programme supported by the Community Health Partnership allows us to deliver this important service.”
The classes will help build and maintain the likes of balance, strength and flexibility – as well as tai chi and confidence building.
Classes will be held in Ayr, Prestwick, Troon, Maybole and Girvan.
For more information on classes contact Janey.Anderson@south-ayrshire.gov.uk or phone 01292 294716 or 01292 294704.
For additional information on contact Dr Heather Hall by email at Heather.Hall@aapct.nhs.scot.uk or phone 01292 660827.