Wiltshire falls prevention – new resources to support people

With around one in three adults over 65 and half of people over 80 having at least one fall a year, Wiltshire Council has worked with Wiltshire Health and Care to create a suite of resources to help prevent falls and to enable more people to access support.

Strength and balance training is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence for those with a history of recurrent falls and/or balance and gait deficit. The resources have been created with funding support from the BSW Integrated Care Board.

Wiltshire Council's Public Health and Active Health teams have collaborated with Wiltshire Health and Care to produce a series of videos and a booklet, which provide hints and tips to help older adults keep active and healthy and reduce the risk of falling.

Falls prevention classes are run across the county, accepting referrals from health care professionals, or the individuals themselves.

Public engagement events with older adults across Wiltshire identified some common barriers to health and wellbeing services including transport, mobility and loss of confidence primarily due to shielding during COVID lockdowns.  Accordingly, the council has created an alternative route to accessing strength and balance exercises tailored to those who had lost confidence in staying steady on their feet.  Videos are available to support those who can't yet access a falls class, those who want to try the exercises before committing to classes and those wanting to supplement their activity between classes.

These videos are available online and are available to borrow for free in DVD format from all Wiltshire Council's libraries. The videos are:

  • Evidence-based strength and balance movements for older adults with a fear of, or history of, falling
  • Developed to broaden access to falls prevention tools, for those who cannot travel to classes, are housebound or would like to practice at home
  • Individual clips so playlists can be created tailored individual needs

The booklet, 'Wiltshire Steady Steps', is available online and hard copies can be requested by professionals. It provides self-risk-assessment checklists, information to reduce risk of falls and contacts of key services across Wiltshire to support older adults improve their health and wellbeing.

Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Public Health, Leisure and Libraries, Cllr Ian Blair-Pilling, said: We've made these resources available in a range of formats to suit peoples' range of lifestyles. We know that not everyone who needs it is able to attend a fall prevention class, so we hope our videos - found online or at all our libraries - will help.

A nasty fall can have a profound impact on people.  We hope our resources help older people can stay active, retain their independence and enjoy their lives, but with less risk to themselves.

The Wiltshire Steady Steps booklet is available online at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/article/1405/Health-for-older-people.

For more information on falls prevention classes, people should visit www.wiltshire.gov.uk/leisure-gp-referral.

The online videos can be found at:

Falls Prevention: Beginner - YouTube(opens new window)

Falls Prevention: Intermediate - YouTube(opens new window)

Falls Prevention: Advanced - YouTube(opens new window)

Backward chaining - YouTube(opens new window)

More information about Falls Awareness Protection Week can be found at Falls Prevention Awareness Week Toolkit(opens new window)

For more information regarding the resources, please email jessica.funnell@wiltshire.gov.uk