Stepping On a steady success

RAYMOND Ellis played basketball all his life, and volleyball for much of it.

Now, at 86, he is still president of the Ocean Shores Basketball Association.

But as he aged and osteoarthritis added to his ‘intense pigeon toes’, he found he had trouble walking in a straight line and became unsteady on his feet.

It was a dangerous state to be in. Falls cause about 30,000 hospitalisations and at least 300 deaths in people of 65 and over in NSW.

Mr Ellis had tripped once and broken his wrist.

He was anxious about going out, afraid that he would wobble in front of cyclists on the footpath, or fall into the road.

But help was at hand through a falls prevention program called Stepping On.

Mr Ellis spent two-hours a week for seven weeks being trained in new ways of walking, boosting vision, and building thigh muscles, with the help of exercise training and specialist speakers.

The Stepping On course was wonderful for him, he said.

“I can walk in a straight line again,” he said.

Mary Clare Maloney, falls prevention co-ordinator at the North Coast Area Health Service, said the program was designed for people who were living at home and who had fallen or were scared of falling.

For information on Stepping On groups in your town contact Fiona Greenlaw on 0408 665 282.

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