Falls are the most common and costly cause of injury in older people, accounting for about 40 per cent of ACC claims for people aged between 65 and 69, and about 60 per cent of claims for those aged over 85.

As such fall minimisation is a key focus for health agencies and on the East Coast, Enliven has been appointed the lead agency for a new falls minimisation initiative, "Community Strength and Balance", driven by ACC, the Ministry of Health and the Health Quality and Safety Commission.

The initiative was launched at the Enliven Centre on Pakowhai Rd yesterday, and was aimed at supporting older people to live stronger for longer in their own homes, on their own terms, said Enliven community services manager Rebekah Charlton.

"Falling over is not a 'normal' part of the ageing process.

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"Older people want to control if and when it's time to move to residential care. We don't want a 'fall' to take that choice away from them."

In its role, Enliven would be taking referrals for approved community strength and balance classes, supporting exercise providers to maintain quality classes and increasing the number of strength and balance classes available.

In-home and community-based strength and balance programmes would now be available more widely across the Hawke's Bay region.

Any exercise providers who were interested in becoming an approved strength and balance provider or wished to access an approved class can contact Rebekah on 0800 4 Enliven for more information.

On a similar vein, the Hawke's Bay DHB is holding a public bone health hui on Wednesday, September 27, from 3.30pm to 4.30pm for people interested in managing life with arthritis.