Leaves are falling but older adults aren’t in Nelson Bays

The leaves are falling but luckily the same can't be said for our older adult population thanks to a falls prevention programme run by Nelson Bays Primary Health.

Upright & Able is a community falls prevention programme designed to reduce injuries from falls, in particular fractures or broken bones. It is for people over the age of 65 years who have had a fall.


In New Zealand 18,500 people are hospitalised after a fall each year. When older adults fall, not only do they suffer terrible (sometimes fatal) injuries, a fall can lead to loss of independence and increased the likelihood of more falls.

During the past 3-years that Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) has been funding Upright & Able, 1149 older adults were referred to the programme and as a result of attending:

  • 99% have more awareness of what can causes them to fall and how they can avoid falling.
  • Six months after attending Upright & Able; 23% had suffered a further fall.
  • Of those who fell, only 10% received an injury and only 1% fractured a bone.

In 2014 research undertaken by ACC showed delivery of Upright & Able covered all relevant topics in an easy to understand way and that participants were motivated to make changes.

“I have been doing my exercises every day and already I find it easier to stand up when I am getting out of a chair”, says one female participant from Nelson. “I’ve also thrown out some old shoes and put a mat in the shower”, she says.

Angela Francis, Chief Executive for Nelson Bays Primary Health states “The falls prevention model has been a very effective intervention, resulting in a significant reduction of fractures from falls in our older adult population”.

If you are over 65 years and can answer yes to any of the questions below…you may be at risk of falling.

  1. Have you had a slip, trip or fall in the past 12 months?
  2. Do you have a fear of losing your balance?
  3. Are you on 4 or more medications?

“Slip, trips and falls can happen to us all.  Many think it won’t happen to them, or that falls are not important.  Some think, falling is a natural part of ageing and there is nothing you can do.

The good news is, most falls are preventable.” says Cherie Thomas, Coordinator of Upright & Able.

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