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Dance to Health

Dance programmes to improve delivery of evidence-based falls-prevention exercise for older people

What we do

Dance to Health, an Aesop programme, addresses older people’s falls, which are traumatic and cost the NHS £2.3 billion per year. Current falls-prevention exercise programmes face challenges: patchy provision, low take-up and adherence, and the lack of maintenance classes so gains are lost and investment wasted. Only a minority are evidence-based.

Dance to Health uses the two evidence-based prevention programmes, Otago and FaME, which last for 50 hours over six months and reduce falls by up to 55 per cent. Through a partnership with Later Life Training, which trains exercise professionals to work with older people, dancers have been trained in Otago and FaME to offer a fun, sociable and creative way for older people to participate in falls-prevention exercise.

Six pilots are under way in London, Cheshire and Oxfordshire in partnership with various organisations and an evaluation team is studying quality assurance, health/artistic/social outcomes, health economics, social enterprise business modelling and development. The aim is that each group will become part of a self-sustaining Dance to Health network.

I took part in a Dance to Health class and found it a very creative and fluent way to challenge participants’ balance. The instructors and peer motivator are positive and supportive. Dance to Health successfully facilitates falls-prevention for the older population.

Jason Wilson, falls-prevention physiotherapist, Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Trust

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