A local lady suffering with mobility issues after hip and knee replacement operations has improved her confidence and self motivation through an innovative ‘falls prevention’ service provided by Soltions4Health and commissioned by Bracknell Forest Council.
Dileeni Jayatileke (age 71) from Hanworth is taking advantage of the complimentary ‘FallsFree4Life’ service aimed at preventing fall incidents in those aged 65 and over in the Bracknell area. It’s run on the Council’s behalf by Solutions4Health (S4H), and delivers significantly improved outcomes at a much reduced cost.
The service has been reaching out into the community to identify those that may be at a medium risk of falling – often without them even knowing they’re vulnerable – and Dileeni says it’s opened her eyes to the case for prevention over cure and the benefits of self-help as she gets older.
She explains: “I’m still reasonably active for my age, but the operations have slowed me down a bit and caused some balance issues. I walk rather than run on the gym machines at Bracknell Leisure Centre now and I can’t really go our cycling on my own anymore, in case I fall. So, when they emailed me about FallsFree4Life starting up there I thought to myself what have I got to lose?
“I was assessed by S4H at home with their clever Kinesis QTUG™ device, which detects and pinpoints mobility impairment and your risk of falling – so prevention techniques can be worked out. My home was pretty safe, but I’m much more aware of the risk of falling now and it will stand me in good stead for the future. I’m also taking advantage of their weekly Well Balanced strength and coordination classes at Bracknell Leisure Centre, which have some fantastic exercises. They’ve got harder over the weeks, but in a good way, and are really stretching me, plus I’ve picked up lots of useful balance tips. I can even stand on one leg for quite a while now and my falls risks has halved.
“The wellness coaches, Elaine, Ines and Himshika, are all caring and enthusiastic, plus very thorough and professional too, so I’ve been telling older and less able people in the area that it can transform their lives. Some of my class members have suffered some painful injuries through falling in the past, but this course really does have the power to prevent this happening going forward.”
Councillor Dale Birch, Bracknell Forest’s executive member for adult services, health and housing, says: “As part of our goal to enable all of our residents to live active and healthy lifestyles, we commissioned Solutions 4 Health to deliver preventative activities which help our older residents reduce their risk of falling, helping them to stay independent and healthy for as long as possible.
“Falls can have a significant impact on an individual’s independence, so the FreeFalls4Life service combines the latest technology with a personalised service to help prevent residents experiencing a fall and, in turn, reduce the risk to their independence and wellbeing.”
As part of the free ‘FallsFree4Life’ service, the team’s wellness coaches undertake a full in-depth falls risk assessment, covering all factors that can increase this risk. This enables S4H to tailor a package of community support that best suits the person’s needs (and those of their family) along with exercise programmes including Tai Chi, group sessions and home exercise.
Philip Hoy, Falls Prevention Project Manager at S4H, adds: “We’re proud to introduce another unique programme for Bracknell residents that is making a huge difference to the health of local people. With just some minor lifestyle adjustments and through a holistic approach, FallsFeee4Life is successfully helping the elderly and their loved ones make the changes necessary to live a strong, independent, safer and much improved life.”