Help to step on with confidence

FALLING is a major fear for people aged over 65 but luckily for local residents help is on its way.

The Stepping On program, funded by NSW Health and run through the Local Health Districts is one of the most effective Falls Prevention Programs in NSW.

The program aims to improve participants balance and strength through specific exercises.

Stepping On also educates participants about how falls can occur and how to prevent them.

"It's a community based program that is really about empowering people," Health Promotion Officer Pamela Johnson said.

But education and fitness are not the only positives for those who take part.

"On top of all the physical benefits, the participants enjoy it and get a chance to be social," Ms Johnson said.

So far the program has had great success around the area.

"After the seven weeks we've seen a big improvement in their confidence to move around safely in the community," Stepping On Fitness Leader Tom Merrick said.

Bellingen resident and Stepping On graduate Bev Watson agrees.

"Going to the Stepping On program has made a big difference to my life.

"I am more aware of keeping myself safe and how to prevent myself falling.

"I got to meet new people, it was fun and now I am a lot stronger and more confident to go out in the community, I highly recommend this program to anyone," Mrs Watson said.

In NSW alone falls lead to the hospitalisation of approximately 30,000 people aged 65 and over and at least 300 deaths.

Over the next few months Stepping On will run in the areas surrounding Coffs Harbour and Bellingen.

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