BEST FOOT FORWARD is an ambitious county-wide dance and falls prevention project for older people. The project will enable 100 older people across Devon to access this weekly dance programme over 12 months.
The project is one of five competing in the West Country for up to £50k of National Lottery funding in the People’s Projects competition. The deadline for voting was 3rd April. We now await the results....
Best Foot Forward will offer evidence-based dance classes to improve confidence, strength and balance of older people at risk of falling. The sessions will be fun, sociable and creative, offering opportunities for personal expressions of identity. Through dance, participants are able to physically connect, move with and relate to new people, partners and family members in non care-based interactions. The groups will have a chance to come together in Autumn 2017 to celebrate their achievements and creative work.
Falls are one of the most common health problems among older people. In Devon the number of people aged 65 and over suffering at least one fall in the last 12 months is predicted to increase from 46,700 in 2011 to 74,500 in 2030*. These falls can lead to: injury, reduced mobility, loss of independence and reduced quality of life. Falls destroy confidence, increase isolation and reduce independence, with 9% of older people who fall becoming afraid to leave their homes in case they fall again. One of the problems identified by health care providers is that people often lack the motivation to continue exercising after a fall. Dance is FUN and we can do it to stay strong, safe and full of beans.
*Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy for Devon
Charlie’s daughter explains:
“When Dad fell over it was very upsetting for the whole family. Even when he recovered from his injuries, he felt too frightened to leave the house in case he fell again and we were all worried about him. Going back to his day to day activities was difficult. We all understood about doing the exercises but it was hard for him to stay motivated and I couldn’t be there to do it with him all the time.
When he started going to the dance classes, he just seemed to wake up! He really enjoyed the music and enjoyed dancing with the others in the group. He made new friends and looked forward to each session. Now he goes out to get the paper, he is much more confident and he is up and down out of his chair much more easily.”