Each year, the month of April marks April Falls, a campaign that aims to raise awareness of
falls prevention and help those at risk of falling to stay on their feet.
Having good balance reduces the risk of trips and falls and helps us to live independently as
we get older, which is why this year’s April Falls theme is ‘Better Balance for Fall Prevention’.
Central Coast Local Health District (CCLHD) physiotherapist Matt Egan emphasises the
importance of doing strength and balance exercises before you develop a risk of falls.
“Your balance can begin to deteriorate in your 50s, but many people wait until they’re older
and frailer to do something about it,” Mr Egan said.
“Falls can be really significant and life changing events as we get older so it’s important to
act on early changes to your balance, strength and vision. Don’t wait until having a fall to
take action.” he said.
Mr Egan recommends simple tests to do at home to check on your balance, like standing on
one leg for 60 seconds and standing on one leg with your eyes closed, without wobbling. It’s
best to do these tests near a kitchen bench in case you need to grab it for safety.
If you struggle, there is help available.
“People assume falls are just a normal part of ageing. But most causes of falls are
preventable and there’s a lot people can do to reduce their risk of falling,” he said.
NSW Health offers a range of programs to help older adults with balance, including Healthy
and Active for Life, a free 10-week online program and Stepping On, a free seven-week
program conducted face to face at community locations across the Central Coast.
Other activities recommended to improve balance include tai chi, yoga and lawn bowls.
For more information visit: www.activeandhealthy.nsw.gov.au