Strength and Balance
I deliver a home based, individually tailored strength and balance retraining programme for seniors.
Falls can seem such simple events that the solutions might also appear to be simple, but unfortunately, this is not always the case, and impaired strength and balance contributes to most falls.
The programme I deliver is the result of many years of research. It was developed in New Zealand at the end of the 90’s and has been evaluated in both research and routine healthcare services.
Overall, the exercise programme has proved to be effective in reducing the number of falls, and the number of injuries resulting from falls by 35%. It was also shown to be equally effective for men and women.
The outcome of the programme is improved participants’ strength and balance; this also improves and maintains their confidence in carrying out everyday activities without falling.
The programme is designed specifically to prevent falls. It consists of a set of leg muscle strengthening and balance retraining exercises progressing in difficulty, and a walking plan.
The exercises are individually prescribed and increase in difficulty during a series of six home visits.
What happens in the programme?
• On the first visit I take a clinical history to understand current and previous conditions that may affect progress, take baseline strength and balance measurements, and prescribe an initial set of exercises for the client to become familiar with.
• I provide each client with a booklet with instructions for each exercise and ankle cuff weights to provide resistance for the strengthening exercises. Heavier ankle cuff weights may need to be purchased during the programme.
• For visits 2-6 (which take place at weeks two, four, eight, sixteen and thirty), we review progress and agree how to progress the exercises. I then do a final visit in month 12.
What do the clients do?
Clients will exercise on their own between visits, to an agreed schedule.
When the client is exercising on their own, the exercises take about 30 minutes to complete, they do these three times a week and go for a walk at least twice a week.
I also ask the client to record the days they complete the programme and make note of any issues/successes for the follow-up discussions.
When I work with you, I will:
• Assess your current ability and tailor a programme based on what you are able do
• Provide you with a booklet and ankle cuff weights to get started
• Visit, and work with you for 4-5 months
• Provide telephone support for up to 12 months, and visit you if needed
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