Falls Prevention in action

Each year over 150,000 adults over the age of 65 suffer from an injury as a result of a fall in their home or out in the community.

ACC spends over $210 million annually helping people rehabilitate and recover from these injuries, however, the impact is much greater than the dollar figure. The impact of a fall in an older adult can be the loss of independence, a loss in confidence, reluctance to leave the home, and social isolation. The impacts can also be felt by the person’s whānau and friends.

The Local Falls Working Group (LFWG) – consisting of ACC, Midlands Regional Health Network, New Plymouth Injury Safe, Sport Taranaki, and Te Whatu Ora Taranaki – have been working on ways to encourage our older population to re-engage with Strength and Balance activities.

On Thursday the 3rd of November, the LFWG hosted the Healthy Active and Ageing Forum and Expo at the TSB Stadium in New Plymouth. The event consisted of four guest speakers focused on topics that impact on older adults. The speakers were a Nurse Practitioner who spoke about the Driver Licensing process, a Physiotherapist who spoke about Long COVID, a Dietician who spoke about the benefits of a healthy diet, and a Pharmacist.

There were also 25 stall holders for the expo. These varied in the services that they offered, but all focused around supporting our older population.

Between 80 and 100 people attended the event including District Councillor Sam Bennett and Local Member of Parliament Glen Bennett. The feedback obtained from the event has been overwhemingly positive with the attendee’s enjoying all different aspects of the day.

On Thursday the 24th of November Hilary Blackstock (Sport Taranaki) and Riley McGregor (ACC) spoke at the Stratford Positive Ageing Forum about how the older community can keep themselves safe from falling. Over 50 people attended this event and the feedback on this presentation was overwhelmingly positive.

The LFWG have more initiatives in the pipelines to encourage people to get involved with Community Strength and Balance so keep an eye and an ear out for these.

If you are seeking more information on Falls Prevention you can visit https://www.livestronger.org.nz/

If you would like to attend a Community Strength and Balance class, or are interested in becoming a class leader, you can contact Hilary Blackstock at Sport Taranaki.