Older people with sight loss are needed to participate in a new trial aimed at preventing falls.
The George Institute for Global Health and Guide Dogs NSW/ACT have teamed up to provide a home-based exercise program to improve physical function in older people with low vision and reduce their risk of having a debilitating fall.
People with sight loss are at eight times greater risk of falls and fall injury.
Professor Lisa Keay, of The George Institute for Global Health, said, “Falls can be incredibly debilitating and lead to a loss of confidence, injury and sometimes even death.
“As we age, we all face an increased risk of falls, but for those with low vision, that risk is dramatically higher. With almost 100,000 Australians living with permanent sight loss, this is a critical public health issue and one that needs to be tackled urgently.”
Participants on the trial, which is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), will work with Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Orientation and Mobility Specialists in their own home and be given a program to improve balance and lower body strength. The exercises have been designed to slot into everyday tasks and activities.
“The Specialists will work with each participant to draw up a highly personalised program that will work for their lifestyle. Our focus is on providing exercises that can be done safely and only moving on to more challenging moves once that exercise has been mastered,” said Professor Keay.
“Our hope is that this program will not only prevent injury in this vulnerable population, it will also improve their overall mobility.”
Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Executive General Manager, Frances Tinsley said, “Like other Guide Dogs services, the aim of this program is to support people to move around safely and confidently in their own homes, and to actively participate in their communities.”
Professor Peter McCluskey from Save Sight Institute is an investigator on this trial said, “This work is addressing an important issue and this multi-disciplinary team are well placed to make a difference to independence and mobility for people who lose sight”.
The trial is actively recruiting in 2017 across NSW and the ACT. Contact: PlaTFORM Project Manager, Kirsten Jakobsen, at [email protected]u or on (AUS) 02 8052 4379.