CARE home residents in Swindon have been channelling their inner Olympians as part of a new scheme to help reduce falls. 

This comes as part of a 12-week activity programme to improve the mobility, balance and wellbeing of some of the most vulnerable and frail residents in the town. 

‘The Senior Games’ will see qualified instructors visit nine care homes over the next few months with residents taking part in chair-based exercises to classic songs to help improve their health and prevent falls.

There will also be a chance for residents to take part in competitive games, such as foam javelin throwing, tin-can alley and golf putting. The programme is open to all care home residents, including those living with dementia.

Susan Lambert, public health specialist at Swindon Borough Council, said: “This project links directly into the aims of our Swindon Falls and Bone Health Strategy, and is targeting the most elderly and frail members of our community who are heavy users of health and social care services.

“So far residents and care staff are enjoying taking part and feeling the benefits of more physical activity and a chance to get moving, just because you get older, does not mean you are not fiercely competitive."

Participants’ physical fitness, mobility and how anxious they feel about falling will be measured at the start and end of the 12-week period. It is hoped residents will improve in each of the measurements so they see longer term health and well-being improvements and fewer falls, which will ease the pressure on health and social care services.

The programme is funded and organised by Swindon Borough Council’s Public Health department working with the Wiltshire & Swindon Sports Partnership and members of the Swindon Falls Collaboration.

A celebration event will take place at Foundation Park next to the County Ground in January to bring care home residents together with secondary school pupils having the chance to join in, and award medals and trophies.

It is hoped the success of the project will result in funding being obtained to run more Senior Games sessions in care homes across Swindon. The Council has been invited to share the learning and best practices from the programme at a national level.

On average 348 people per month are admitted to the Great Western Hospital with a fall. Many of whom are care home residents.