New online tool helps older adults with Balance in Swindon 

An online tool designed to help older adults feel more confident about their balance and ability to get about more safely has been launched in Swindon.

Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Swindon Borough Council and the Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board, have worked collaboratively on ‘Steady on Your Feet Swindon’ over the past year ahead of the launch.

The ‘Steady on Your Feet’ website and interactive self-assessment tool is part of a national campaign led by the NHS in partnership with local councils.

The advice, guidance, videos and online resources are designed for anyone worried about feeling unsteady on their feet. The site aims to equip users with simple tips to stay active, independent and safe during their everyday activities.

The interactive online self-assessment tool will also help individuals identify hazards or risks that might affect them individually, and lead them through some simple questions to help reduce risks and improve confidence.

The assessment can be completed alone, or with some support, and users will be provided with their own personal action plan to support them in their daily life.

A third of people aged 65 and over, and around half of people aged 80 and over, fall at least once a year, according to Public Health England and it is projected that there could be an extra 250,000 falls each year due to people not taking part in activities during the pandemic which support strength and balance.

In 2020-21, between 300 and 350 falls a month resulted in visits to the Emergency Department at Great Western Hospital and 195 people were admitted having broken their hip after falling.

Charlotte Richards, Programme Development Manager at NHS Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board, said: “We are committed in Swindon to improving the wellbeing of our communities. I am really pleased that we are launching this new risk checker, which will help our residents to stay stronger for longer.

“This is a fantastic tool which supports our ambitions to reduce health inequalities, and for people to enjoy healthy, safe and independent lives, with timely and practical advice and support, most suited to their needs. Please encourage anyone that you think might benefit from this to access Steady on Your Feet.’’

Rebecca Arthur, Integrated Falls Pathway Lead at Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Falling is not an inevitable consequence of ageing. There is lots of evidence that shows that exercise that improves strength and balance keeps us more stable, independent for longer and reduces the risk of falling.

“There are also lots of changes that can be made to your environment, lifestyle, diet, footwear and many other factors that will help you stay steady on your feet and this new online tool can help you think about where to start and what changes, if any, you may want to make to achieve this.”

Swindon Borough Council’s Public Health Specialist, Susan Lambert, said: “With more and more people living longer it is really important that people maintain their own mobility to give them the best chance of staying independent in later life.

“This new tool is a really positive way for people to become steadier on their feet so they reduce the risk of having a fall. I would encourage people to look at the ‘Steady On Your Feet’ website so they pick up those easy tips to stay active and safe while they enjoy their later years.”