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Schools help older people stay steady

School children across Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan have been holding sessions for older people in the local community to raise awareness of and reduce the risk of falling.

Staying Steady Schools was launched by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board with the help of Cardiff University students who hosted a number of sessions in local primary schools where children teach older people about the risk of falls and how to reduce them.

Following a successful pilot earlier this year, Staying Steady Schools was named a Bevan Exemplar for 2019. The Bevan Commission, Wales’ premier think tank for health and care, supports NHS professionals in Wales each year to test out their own innovative ideas through its Bevan Exemplars scheme.

The project is based around the steady on stay SAFE campaign, the national falls prevention campaign in Wales. Pupils from local primary schools will invite older people from the local community in to learn about the four areas of strength, balance, falls history and environment.

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In October 16 schools held a session with 164 adults attending, 20 Medical and OT students involved, and 417 children involved.

Oliver Williams, Falls Strategy Implementation Lead at Cardiff and Vale UHB and developer of the Staying Steady Schools project said:

“Falls are not an inevitable part of ageing and there are many things people can do or put in place to reduce the risk of them falling. These sessions will see children and older people discuss and learn about strength and balance exercises, clearing away clutter and trip hazards, ensuring they are wearing the correct footwear and telling people when they have had a fall.

“Many older people don’t realise that some falls can be as a result of dehydration or poor eye sight so it is also important to ensure they drink plenty of fluids and get their eyes tested regularly.

“This project has been designed to get the messages out in the local community so people are aware of how to reduce their risk of falls before they end up in hospital which can mean a loss in confidence and independence.”

Helen Howson, Director of the Bevan Commission said:

“We are delighted to support this exciting intergenerational project as a Bevan Exemplar. It exemplifies our approach of trialling unusual or innovative ideas which have the potential to transform patient experiences, health outcomes and communities. We look forward to continuing to follow its progress over the coming year.”

Falls can have a huge impact on the NHS with older people being admitted to hospitals and subsequently losing confidence and independence as they have a fear of falling again. Prevention of falls is key to keeping strong on your feet and being able to stay at home and in the local community. Programmes like this will teach people what they can do to keep themselves well and active.

Cardiff and Vale UHB will be hosting more Staying Steady with Schools sessions. If you would like to take part and host a session please contact [email protected]