Best Foot Forward is a dance for falls prevention programme. We offer evidence-based dance classes to improve confidence, strength and balance of older people at risk of falling. Sessions are 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.
Dance in Devon is currently working with Torbay Culture Board, Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust and South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group to test dance as an intervention for falls prevention. We are working with participants aged over 55 years old, who have a high risk of falling or fear of falling. After being referred by their GPs, we recruited 12 participants to join us twice a week for 25 weeks (June – November 2017). The 50 hour dance programme will incorporate the FAME1 (Fitness and Mobility Exercise) protocol.
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
This project is part of a suite of four arts, health and wellbeing collaborations currently being developed and is part-funded by the Arts Council.