Dance to Health

Dance to Health responds to the issue of older people’s falls. Falls represent the most frequent and serious type of accident in people aged 65 and over. 25% of ambulance calls are due to older people’s falls. After a fall, an older person is 50% likely to have seriously impaired mobility and 10% will die within a year. Falls destroy confidence, increase isolation and reduce independence. Falls cost the NHS £2.3 billion per year. The health system’s response has problems. Dance to Health has solutions.

  • Recruitment is a problem. The programmes are ‘dull as ditchwater’ (RCP Clinical Falls Lead). Dance to Health has waiting lists.
  • 60% who agree to join don’t complete. Dance to Health pilots are showing better retention.
  • Only 38% use the evidence-based programmes which can reduce falls by 55%. Dance to Health uses these programmes.
  • Maintenance programmes are rare and, without them, improvements are lost in 12 months. Dance to Health offers maintenance programmes at no cost to the health system.

Dance to Health uses the two evidence-based falls prevention programmes, Otago and FaME, which reduce falls by up to 55%. Through a partnership with Later Life Training, dance artists from Cheshire Dance, Dancing in Devon, Dance East, East London Dance and South East Dance have been trained in Otago and FaME. Six pilots in London, Cheshire and Oxfordshire have been under way in partnership with dance organisations and Age UK, health and wellbeing centres, housing association and Jewish Care. An evaluation team is studying the process, quality assurance, health/artistic/social outcomes, health economics, and the best social enterprise model for Dance to Health to grow successfully.

Dance to Health is being developed as a sustainable social enterprise. Health investment is required for the six month programmes and the early stages of the maintenance programmes. Later, the maintenance programmes will become self-sustaining.

Dance to Health is supported by Arts Council England, City Bridge Trust, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, Oxfordshire Community Foundation and Peter Sowerby Charitable Foundation.