High number of ACC claims in the BOP
Omokoroa’s Judi Mori has used the NYMBL balance training app every day for the past two months and says it has made “a significant difference” to her life.
The 68-year-old retiree from Omokoroa knows the value of staying steady on her feet.
She has had a number of serious falls in recent years where she has broken her ribs, and her wrists on three different occasions. All were debilitating injuries that required significant rehabilitation.
“A few years ago, I had a couple of really nasty falls which set me back,” she says.
“I broke my ribs on one occasion and it was so painful. The time recovering from those injuries had a big personal cost. Now I’m more aware of my balance and I’m concentrating on not falling to prevent those injuries.”
ACC is funding the trial of a balance training app designed to help seniors stay steady on their feet.
The app—NYMBL—uses dual tasking combining simple balance exercises with brain games, to challenge both the brain and body.
“There is a perception that as you get older, falls and fractures become an almost inevitable part of life, and we want to challenge that—falls can be prevented,” says Kirsten Malpas, ACC Injury Prevention Leader.
“By investing 10 minutes a day, a few times a week, in the comfort of your own home, you can improve your balance and maintain your independence and confidence.”
Mori is determined to not take her balance and her wellbeing for granted. She says her balance has improved significantly since using the NYMBL app.
“I haven’t fallen at all since using the app over the last two months. Using NYMBL has taught me to pick up my feet more rather than dragging my left foot as I usually do. It is not only helping with my balance but it’s also cognitive as well.”
In the past 10 years ACC have accepted 111,778 new claims for falls for people aged 65 and over in the Bay of Plenty region. This came at a cost of $112m to help them recover.
Tauranga had the highest number of new claims in the Bay of Plenty during this period. There were 64,498 claims for falls for people over the age of 65 in Tauranga and 19,836 claims for Rotorua.
In 2019 alone, there were 13,958 claims in the Bay of Plenty for people aged 65 and over and these came at a cost of almost $16m to help them recover.
In 2019 more than 160,000 Kiwis over the age of 65 experienced a fall that required medical care, and ACC spent $216 million on helping them recover.
ACC is funding the trial as part of their older people’s programme, Live Stronger for Longer, which is focused on preventing falls and fractures.
“Falls have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life, especially if it results in a fracture, so we want to do what we can to prevent them from happening in the first place,” says Malpas.
Mori says she finds the NYMBL app a great test of her mind and body. She knows that she has to work on her balance after she suffered a stroke a few years ago.
“Even though it was many years ago, it left me weaker on my left side and I know I don’t lift my left leg very well when I walk,” she says.
“I often trip over things and with NYMBL I have learned to pick my feet up and its improved my walking. Now I go heel, toe and it’s a conscious thing for me.”
Mori has received a couple of extra activities from NYMBL - like when she is cleaning her teeth, she keeps her feet together and every time she gets out of a chair, she doesn’t just do it once, she does it a few times, without using her hands.
She has recommended NYMBL to a number of friends who are getting benefit from it.
“Anything you can do to improve your balance, you should invest in. It’s a great initiative from ACC to see them helping people in this age group. There is nothing worse than falling over and you want to prevent that at all costs.”
In the three months since NYBML was launched there have been over 10,000 older Kiwis register for the free balance training app trial.
Sign up for the NYMBL balance training app at: https://nymblscience.com/nz-fallsfree-welcome/