News release from 15/01/2019

Fitness MOTs offered to prevent falls

Fitness MOTs offered to prevent falls

South Cambridgeshire residents that are aged 65 and over are being offered free fitness MOTs by the District Council – as part of a drive to reduce the number of people ending up in hospital because of falls at home.

Latest figures show almost 600 people, aged 65 or over and from South Cambridgeshire, were admitted to accident and emergency departments after falling in just one year*. It is the number one reason that people of that age group end up being taken to hospital in an emergency. South Cambridgeshire District Council takes this seriously, so despite the number being similar to the national picture, the authority is providing a series of functional fitness MOTs for pensioners to try and bring it down.

The advice sessions, being held this month in Willingham, Cottenham, Sawston, Linton, Melbourn and Bassingbourn are designed to help residents take steps to reduce their chance of falling. There’s no need to book and residents can simply turn up on the day.

At each session, there will be set of simple tests done to help highlight how likely a person is to fall. If the test shows that a person is likely to have a fall, practical advice on how to reduce this risk will be available. These tests will include a 30 second sit to stand movement, chair sit and reach and one leg balance.

The advice on offer include guidance on how to apply for grants to make homes safer and warmer throughout the winter as health professionals say that when people are cold, they become more rigid and are therefore more likely to fall.

Grants that are available from the District Council, that could help prevent a fall at home, include Disabled Facilities Grants to pay for home adaptations such as grab rails, walk-in showers and ramps and also Fuel Grants, which can contribute towards energy bills, insulation and draught-proofing. Both grants are means-tested.

The importance of remaining active will also be highlighted at the sessions. Gentle exercise helps to keep muscles strong and improves balance, posture and co-ordination. Professional guidance on staying active and exercise will be available at the fitness sessions. Staff running the classes will also be able to signpost residents to local fitness and exercise classes that may be suitable for them.

The sessions will take place at the following dates, times and locations which are all sheltered housing schemes run by the District Council:

  • Wednesday 16 January: 10am to 12pm at Wilford Furlong Communal Building, Willingham, CB24 5JH
  • Wednesday 16 January: 2pm to 4pm at Franklin Gardens Communal Building, Cottenham, CB24 8QW
  • Wednesday 23 January: 10am to 12pm at Chapelfield Way Communal Building, Sawston, CB22 3SY
  • Wednesday 23 January: 2pm to 4pm at Chalklands Communal Building, Linton CB21 4JH
  • Wednesday 6 February: 10am to 12pm at Vicarage Close Communal Building, Melbourn SG8 6DY
  • Wednesday 6 February: 2pm to 4pm at Knutsford Road Communal Building, Bassingbourn SG8 5HS

The fitness MOTs are being led by South Cambridgeshire District Council as part of the Let’s Get Moving Cambridgeshire programme, which is funded by Cambridgeshire County Council.

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Hazel Smith (pictured - above), said: “We want to do everything that we can to help our residents stay safe and comfortable in their own homes – and we certainly don’t want anyone to end up in Accident and Emergency as a result of a fall. Ending up in A and E after a fall can have a huge impact on your life – it can damage your confidence and make you less mobile. Also, unfortunately having a fall can mean that you’re at risk of falling again and so become less active and mobile. These sessions are a great way of helping to prevent a fall in the first place and staying active. There will be real, practical advice on offer – along with tea, coffee and a slice of cake, so I’d encourage any resident who feels they may benefit to come along for a chat. We are embedding health and wellbeing into everything we do as a Council and this is one way we hope to make a difference to people’s lives, as well as help ease a little pressure on the NHS. We have to take a car for an MOT once a year, so it certainly doesn’t do any harm for us to have a voluntary check occasionally!”

*Figure taken from Cambridgeshire County Council Joint Strategic Needs Assessment 2017 JSNA core dataset: South Cambridgeshire Summary, July 2018 available here.