Monica has been attending the ChangePoint Strength and balance Training class in Cambridgeshire.
Read her story….
I was invited to Access All Areas Event – Cambridgeshire Alliance for Independent Living, in February 2016, not really knowing what to expect. I was introduced to a company called Everyone Health, were I met Ryan, who worked for a service in the company that offered Falls Prevention support.
I had recently had a fall were I ended up in A and E with my wrist in a splint. I was very keen to receive help. Since my fall my confidence had dropped: having an impaired vision and walking in public places was already a challenge which had now got worse due to the fear of a fall again. After a discussion with Ryan we arranged for me to attend an appointment.
I attended my first appointment at East Barnwell Health Centre were Ryan was very welcoming, we discussed a range topics around falling, and I also completed a balance test, which really opened my eyes to how unsteady I had become on my feet.
After my fall, I did not think I could do anything. I thought as we got older falling became a normal part of ageing. Ryan began to talk to me about exercise and how this could help in preventing falls, and may increase my confidence in day to day life. The exercise we discussed were Strength and Balance classes which were proven to help reduce the risk of falls, run by Forever Active who offered exercise to over 50s. We found a class which was close to my home and fitted in with my lifestyle.
Also in my first appointment we discussed home safety and Ryan asked if I felt I could do with any adaptions around the home to keep me independent. It had become quite a struggle getting up the top part of the stairs, so Ryan arranged a referral with Cambridge Independent Living to come and assess my home a fit a new handrail. This has been brilliant and I now continue to use my stairs safely.
I was nervous about attending my first session with Forever Active as I had never been to an exercise class before. I didn’t need to be nervous though as when I arrived the instructor was very supportive, and the group were very social. I even met an old friend there. The exercises were challenging and beneficial and I particularly enjoyed the bean bag walking and the heel toe walking. I continued to attend over the weeks and could really feel myself improving.
I had my 6 week review with Ryan where at this appointment we discussed how the exercise was going, and he also gave a home exercise manual to start doing at home, and asked me to record an exercise diary which I was happy to do. We also looked at my diet, and both discussed how we could make some changes. I was drinking three sugars in my tea daily and also having white bread and marmalade for breakfast every morning, we agreed to reduce the sugar by a teaspoon and also try porridge with fresh berries.
As the weeks went by and I continued to attend the Strength and Balance class and also completed my home exercises, I could really start to feel steadier and it had definitely increased my confidence to go out. I had previously not been to Cambridge without taking a taxi to the venue I needed to go and coming straight home so when I was able to travel to Cambridge on a the bus and taking time to look around the shops, I was extremely pleased, something I had not done in many years. This then spurred me onto trying to attend the Big Weekend at Cambridge.
The previous year I had attended as a wheelchair user, this year I manged to walk round the event, due my increase in confidence and much improved mobility.
Checking in with Ryan again I had made some positive changes in my diet, I had completely eradicated all sugar from my tea, I had also increased my green leafy vegetables with my main meal, and also changed my breakfast to oats and berries. The result of these small changes has meant I had lost 4 kg which was an amazing achievement.
I am continuing to attend the Strength and Balance classes with Forever Active and I cannot speak highly enough of their exercise classes, it has helped me feel more strong and steady on my feet which has lifted my confidence to continue keeping independent. If it had not been for meeting Ryan, from Everyone Health then I would never have began this journey, the support and motivation he has given me has really helped me make positive changes in my lifestyle and guide me with healthy ageing. My mum was still completing fun runs at 90 years old and lived to the grand age of 101. With my new found health and wellbeing I plan to beat this!