I first visited Everyone Health’s falls prevention team in March 2018 at the Ely library. The physiotherapist I was seeing at the time for my back pain noticed that my balance was quite poor and I had confessed that I had previously had several falls at home. So the physiotherapist referred me to Everyone Health, who contacted my daughter to arrange an appointment date and time. My best friend Toby drove and accompanied me to the appointment, and If I’m being honest, when I turned up I had no idea what I was doing there or what to expect.

I was greeted with a warm welcome from Callum, who sat me down for a discussion about my history of falls and to find out what could be causing them. I explained to Callum that I had suffered from a stroke in 2015, landing me in Addenbrookes hospital for four days. The recovery from my stoke required two years of speech therapy and physiotherapy, which helped get me back to nearly my old self again. Then in 2017, my life hit an all-time low when my wife suddenly passed away. The pain of this event caused me to have a heart attack, resulting in a pacemaker being fitted, more physiotherapy, and my mobility was greatly reduced again. Callum had sympathy for me but explained that there was still hope of making my strength and balance better again by simply completing some recommended exercises. At the end of our first appointment, Callum set me the goal of having a medication review, with the expectation of reducing my dizzy spells. He also put me in touch with Age UK to help my home life become safer, by having grab rails fitted in my bathroom and hallways.

My next appointment with Callum involved setting up a personalised exercise programme, specific to my abilities. At this time I still had a walking stick in one hand and my best mate Toby in the other. Callum realised that I wouldn’t be able to do the usual exercises, so he simplified them for me. The first step of my journey was to learn to walk in a straight line, without the use of a walking stick. Alongside this exercise, I also practised standing on one spot without clinging onto furniture for support. Callum also showed me how to use the ankle weights to strengthen my legs, he told me this was very important as my loss of muscle mass was likely to be the reason for my decline in mobility. Callum reassured me that these leg strengthening exercises would be the biggest help in making me walk properly again. Callum then told me to complete my programme three days a week, with a couple of days rest in between. Every time I went back to see Callum, he would make the exercises more and more difficult, but I did what I was told!

I have been doing my strength and balance exercises for several months now, and everyone can see what a difference it has made in me. I can manage to do things for myself around the house more easily, I only use a stick when I go for long walks, and I’m no longer constantly looking down at my feet to see where I’m going. I’m feeling fitter and healthier, physically and mentally. The way Callum talks to me has given me confidence in what I can do, so now I push myself more and more. I currently have the challenge of walking up a large hill each morning to fetch the newspaper for myself and my neighbour, which is a task I would have asked others to do for me six months ago.

So far I have experienced a successful journey with Everyone Health. I’m most surprised with the confidence I have gained, which I owe all to Callum, as without him I would still be using my stick. He is such an encouraging person to talk to, and I still manage to surprise him with every visit, and he is especially impressed with how low I can squat now.

For anyone who is experiencing falls or would just like to be more mobile, my advice to you is this; if I had the chance to do it all again, I would have done it sooner. Callum has been a great help, and my friend Toby and I talk about him to everyone. I look forward to surprising him further, throughout the rest of my visits.

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