WDHB joins Rangitikei District Council in promoting falls prevention

24 July 2014
Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) health promoter Te Ora Nyman is breaking new ground with her falls prevention classes for Rangitikei’s more vulnerable citizens.
Driven by the Rangitikei District Council’s Positive Ageing Strategy and a desire among Rangitikei residents to improve the safety and wellbeing of the district’s elderly population, Ms Nyman is helping the elderly avoid falls and importantly, harm from falls.

Rangitikei residents enjoying exercise classes designed to help them prevent falls.
Now six weeks into what is a 12-week education programme she travels to both Marton and Taihape once a week to meet with groups of 20 to 30 elderly residents and health workers eager to find out what they can do to lower the risk of falls in the home, and the community.
She’s supported by guest speakers including doctors promoting Advance Care Planning, the New Zealand Fire Service, pharmacists, ACC staff, Age Concern, physiotherapists and St John’s Ambulance who talk to the groups and hand out information and resources for them to refer to once they return home.
Ms Nyman says the speakers include a question and answer session where participants are encouraged to raise issues they might have around their safety and wellbeing before taking part in a gentle exercise session to help strengthen their muscles and improve their balance.
“It’s sobering to look at the statistics provided to us by ACC for the Whanganui district,” Ms Nyman says.
  • 45 percent of all injuries occur in the home
  • 26 percent of all injuries are caused by loss of balance/personal control.
“Each of these statistics is a person who experiences a great deal of pain, who is fearful of the next fall and who loses the confidence to walk alone.
“The WDHB is delighted to have the opportunity to do all we can to help people in our region avoid falls. Apart from the discomfort and pain they experience, falls with injury also cost our health system millions of dollars a year which is money better spent on health prevention.
“It’s a feather in Rangitikei’s caps that they want to take a community-wide approach to addressing this major health concern for our elderly. We applaud them for doing this and look forward to having the opportunity to introduce a similar programme in the Whanganui district.”