Wigan Council working to prevent falls in older adults

Wigan Council working to prevent falls in older adults

Local residents can improve their strength and balance thanks to classes delivered by Wigan Council’s Be Well service.

The active sessions are designed to help those who may have become less active due to Covid-19 restrictions and prevent falls.

In line with its ambition to help residents stay active for longer, Be Well, formerly known as Inspiring healthy lifestyles, has made the classes more accessible.

Previously, the classes were available through GP practices, but they can now be accessed through self-referral.

Professor Kate Ardern, Director of Public Health at Wigan Council said: “Falls are not an inevitable part of aging, and it is never too early or too late to take up falls prevention exercises. From the age of 30 we start to lose 3% - 5% of our muscle a year without activity and exercise to maintain it. However, taking part in exercises like strength and balance classes, walking, gardening, or even cleaning the car can go a long way to helping maintain that muscle and decrease our risk of falls as we age.

“Strength and Balance classes are an excellent way to ease yourself into activity, for anyone that may have suffered a fall or is looking to help prevent one. We often see a huge confidence boost in many of our participants from the exercises and increased social activity which many of us have missed out on over the last year.”

Fall rates in older adults look set to increase across the country and early reports of deconditioning in the population suggest that the effects of lockdowns and Covid-19 restrictions could see this rate increase.

Councillor James Moodie, Lead Member for Public Health, said: “Many of us saw our levels of activity decrease over the pandemic both physically and socially. We hope opening these classes to self-referral will see an increase in physical activity and benefit those attending socially too. This is a preventative measure, which will go a long way to helping people stay active and independent as well as offer a boost in confidence too.”

During lockdowns, residents could take part in Strength and Balance classes virtually through videos and live streaming. Other services such as the pedal loan scheme and ‘Keeping Well’ guides were also made available so people could continue to stay active at home.

Strength and Balance classes are available at various locations including leisure centres and community venues across the borough. If you want to find out more, you can call the Be Well Wigan Active Aging team on 01942 488481.

Posted on Thursday 2nd September 2021

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