DO NOT PUB - Programme to prevent falls among elderly expands to Geylang Bahru and Aljunied

A community programme aimed at preventing falls among the elderly by getting them to be more active will expand into two new areas.

The Stepping Out into Active Life programme, helmed by Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), will expand to Geylang Bahru and Aljunied, said Mr Heng Chee How, Senior Minister of State (Prime Minister's Office) at the hospital's annual Fall Awareness Day event held at the HDB Hub on Saturday.

This is on top of the programme's current presence in the central part of Singapore such as Ang Mo Kio, Toa Payoh and Potong Pasir.

Mr Heng, who is on the Ministerial Committee on Ageing and who heads a sub committee on active ageing and employability, said the prevalence of falls in those aged 65 and above is about 17 per cent and the incidence increases with age.

He added that falls, however, is often not a consequence of age but rather is due to illness, living environments and personal habits. "A house that is cluttered can be hazardous. An elderly person may have lesser strength or poor vision. All these situations can create an environment that poses higher risk of falls."

Under TTSH's Stepping Out into Active Life programme, elderly participants are assessed for their risk of falling. More than 1,500 elderly have been screened. Over 1,000 have joined the one-year programme and the results reveal that more than 50 per cent of the elderly have shown improvement in their balance and walking abilities after completing the programme.