Pensioners workout class reduces risk of falls

Pensioners workout class reduces risk of falls

Pioneering exercise regime run by firefighters is a UK first
09 June 2016

A new exercise class for pensioners has swapped dumb bells for shopping bags and treadmills for tea runs.

The Safety Through Exercise and Education Resilience (STEER) course is the first of its kind in the UK to be run by a fire service.

There are 375,000 over-65s live in Hampshire and the likelihood is that 30 percent of them will have a fall in the next year.

Such falls account for 40 percent of ambulance calls and hospital admissions putting a huge stress on both the ambulance service and the NHS.

Specifically trained firefighters will be using the cutting-edge technology of the Kinesis Qtug mobile falls risk assessment device to test frailty and the likelihood of a fall.

Early results show an average of 20 percent reduction in the chances of a fall on completion of the STEER course.

The course has been recognised and backed by consultant geriatrician of almost 30 years Gill Turner who is a trustee on the British Geriatrics Society.

The exercises incorporate daily activities such as carrying shopping, loading a cupboard or picking items up off the floor in a safe way.

John Martin, 84, who attended the course, said:

“I kept training, I kept training. I kept training.

"I kept going and it helped me. So at the end of this course we are now 12 weeks on and I feel fitter and healthier, it’s really good.”

These courses will be rolled out across Hampshire fire stations.

The course, which lasts two hours a week, is free to the user.

Group Manager Rob Cole said:

“We are proud to be leading the way in this kind of pioneering work.

“Falls have a dramatic impact on the quality of life of older people and put an increasing pressure on the NHS.

"We already engage with the community with safety messages and using firefighters professional capability in this area will help the community of Hampshire and reduce the pressure on our partners.”

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service has developed the course in conjunction with: North East Hampshire and Farnham CCG, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, geriatricians and occupational therapists.

Email steer@hantsfire.gov.ukfor more information or to sign up for future courses.

STEER class
Workout sessions for the over-65s