Falls prevention
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women taking part in an Otago class

A targeted approach to preventing falls

Pre-COVID, around one in three people over 65 would be expected to fall at least once a year (rising to half of those over 80), according to NHS figures. Reducing the incidence of falls means people are far more likely to retain their independence, resulting in happier patients and reducing other health risks.

Deteriorating vision, coupled with poor balance and muscle loss (sometimes a result of inactivity) all contribute to the risk, but selected exercises have been proven to reduce falls frequency. 

Public-facing Otago classes ran across the county pre-pandemic, but a pilot funded and now running across Surrey Heartlands aims to lessen the likelihood of falls amongst people aged 65 and over. Working with three cohorts - carers; care home clients; and individual residents from recognised referrers - clients will work with an Otago instructor to improve their overall strength and balance.


Carers 65+

  • 60 places open for carers
  • 12 in-person group classes (helps combat isolation) + weekly support calls 
  • Action for Carers Surrey offer support for the person being cared for 

1-2-1 home visits

  • 100 places on offer to first applicants
  • 25 weeks: 9 home visits plus 16 tel calls
  • Support to overcome digital exclusion with SCoDP's 'Tech to Connect' project
  • Professionals to download referral form

Care homes

  • Trial for 20 care homes' chosen residents
  • 12 weeks of classes from a local Otago instructor
  • Free pre-recorded films for ongoing use



Who is eligible?

A client can be referred if they are over 65 and:

  • is at risk of falling or
  • has had a fall*
  • can stand up independently
  • can remain standing unaided for 5 mins

* Patients who have fallen must have written or verbal confirmation from their GP, physio or other medical professional that they are physically able to take part in strength and balance classes.

  • Applicants for the carer's cohort will be identified by Action for Carers Surrey
  • Care home risk assessments and / or medical professionals will identify participants for the car home project
  • For 1-2-1 home visits, clients can be recommended by ICP falls networks, physios, Adult Social Care and social prescribers via a referral form (download) which they send straight to the chosen instructor (details in form).

Find out more

For further information - or if you are a physical activity instructor and want to get involved - please contact:

Helen Dredge, Health Lead

07929 657004