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Dance Active Programme Tackles Falls Risks

An innovative programme to improve older people’s core stability and reduce their risk of falling and injuring themselves has been expanded in the city.

The Dance Active sessions, run by Derby-based regional dance house Déda and Derby City Council, are part of a wider Falls Management Exercise programme. 

So far 48 people have taken part in Dance Active sessions with the average age of participants being 79. Dance Artists from Déda who have undergone training in Postural Stability Instruction, have so far piloted and developed the programme at residential homes in Darley Abbey and are now doing sessions at a community venue in Mackworth. There are now plans to launch further sessions in Littleover and the city centre in April. 

In Derbyshire around 71,100 older people fall each year resulting in around 11,000 ambulance call outs and 6,000 hospital admissions. The effectiveness of the programme is being evaluated by a research team from the University of Derby. Researchers are measuring whether Dance Active is effective in reducing the incidence of falls amongst the older people involved with a view to integrating the programme into the city-wide physical activity provision for Derby City. 

Results so far show an improvement in functional ability and balance and increased confidence amongst the participants. The Dance Active programme is part of Forever Active a physical activity programme for people over 60 delivered in partnership by Derby City Council and Derby County Community Trust. It is also a key element of the city’s new ‘More Move Derby’ campaign – a partnership initiative to increase participation in physical activity and sport to get people moving more across the city. 

Derby City Council Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing Cllr Martin Repton explained: “Preventing falls amongst older people is widely identified as a priority as it has such an impact on an individual’s health and wellbeing and on the health and social care provision then required to support their recovery. “Falls management amongst older people has previously focused on prescriptive exercises and we were keen to work with Déda to explore how creative movement could be used to tackle this issue. 

“The Dance Active programme runs alongside a wider Forever Active programme, involving a number of partners, which is tailored to the specific needs of men and women aged sixty and above. “It also perfectly illustrates the ‘Move More Derby’ initiative which aims to encourage people to improve their health and wellbeing by becoming more active in whatever way they choose.” 

Déda’s Head of Dance Development and Learning, Clare Limb, explained that the FaME programme incorporated the creative and social elements of dance which was a new approach to improving postural stability amongst older people. “As a consortium, we have received funding from Sport England to develop this new approach to falls management exercise and the early indications are that it is very effective in tackling postural instability amongst older people at the three venues where we have been researching and developing the Dance Active approach. 

“We await the results of the formal research and evaluation but I am confident that this will demonstrate how dance and creative movement can be highly effective in engaging people in physical activity in a fun and sociable way.” 

One of the venues taking part in the programme is Parklands View in Bath Street which is an extra care scheme owned by Derby City Council and managed on its behalf by Derby Homes. At least ten residents a week join the programme which has been hailed as a huge success. 

Manager Gaynor Sladen said: “The sessions are very creative and fun and are therefore popular with residents who have gained extensive health and social benefits.” 

For more information about Déda, please visit www.deda.uk.com

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