Pensioners dance away their fears of falling in free sessions

A Falling On Your Feet session by Helix Arts.
A Falling On Your Feet session by Helix Arts.

Pensioners are the latest movers and shakers in a scheme to keep them on their toes.

The Falling On Your Feet initiative, led by Helix Arts and choreographer Nadia Iftkhar, provides free dance sessions for people aged 65 and over to help reduce the fear of falls.

The scheme, at Wallsend Memorial Hall and People’s Centre, sees older people’s confidence build as they move in time to the music and learn new skills, and it improves their fitness, health and wellbeing, while also providing time for socialising.

Senior project manager Cheryl Gavin said: “Falls represent the most frequent and serious type of accident in people aged 65 and older.

“After a fall, an older person is more likely to have seriously impaired mobility, destroying confidence, increasing isolation and reducing independence. Costs to the NHS are significant too.

“Helix Arts produced a pilot programme last year, supported by the NHS. Participants’ balance and core strength seemed to improve, helping them overcome the fear of falling.”

The programme is for men and women and is funded by the Henry Smith Foundation and Dunhill Medical Trust.

It runs at Wallsend on Monday and Wednesdays. Places are free, but must be booked in advance on 0191 241 4931. Each session lasts about an hour, with time afterwards to socialise.