Injury Matters has launched their latest campaign for Stay On Your Feet® aimed at keeping older adults healthy and independent by preventing falls.
At a special event in the Wheatbelt town of Narrogin the Stay On Your Feet® Build Your Balance campaign launch demonstrated tips to help maintain and improve balance in older adults, which is essential for everyday tasks including walking, getting out of a chair and shopping.
Injury Matters partnered with the WA Country Health Service (WACHS) to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their Stay Active program, a seniors’ fitness class run by volunteers throughout the Wheatbelt.
The free event included the Wheatbelt’s biggest seniors Stay Active class, a tai chi demonstration, balance testing and tips, and volunteer awards, acknowledging for their dedication to the program over many years.
Injury Prevention Manager Rachel Meade said Injury Matters and WACHS made excellent partners.
“We’re both working towards the same goals – letting people aged over 60 know that they can remain healthy and independent by following a few simple steps,” she said.
“We want people to know that falls are preventable, and that by improving your balance and leg strength, and removing trip hazards from your home, people can prevent falls and stay independent,”
“1 in 3 people over 65 will fall each year, but falls don’t have to be a normal part of getting older”
Stay Active volunteer leader, 80 year old Lindsay Rowley from Narrogin, said he enjoyed leading the fitness classes and had clocked up about 13 years’ service. He started out accompanying his wife, and later learnt to be an instructor.
“It keeps me active physically, as well as mentally, because I’m always learning new movements and meeting people. I know that helps me stay independent and healthy,”
“We include a lot of balance exercises in our classes, and we often have 40 people take part. The oldest amongst us is 88 years old,”
“I’ve had a few friends who have had falls and it can be really painful and often keep you housebound, or in hospital. I want to avoid that of course, and keeping up my strength and balance is one of the ways I can do that,” he said.
As well as the huge emotional and physical cost of a fall there is also a very significant financial cost to the WA community – falls cost about $2.2 billion per year in WA alone.
A range of free Stay On Your Feet® resources have been produced including a balance video and exercise brochures to teach older adults how to maintain or improve their balance in their own home.
Injury Matters coordinates Stay On Your Feet® which promotes how to keep active and alert through the Move Improve Remove campaigns to prevent slips, trips and falls.