Trial to help prevent injuries to older citizens

SENIORS with sight loss are being offered the chance to take part in a new trial here on the Coffs Coast aimed at preventing falls.

The George Institute for Global Health and Guide Dogs NSW/ACT 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 injury.

Professor Lisa Keay of The George Institute for Global Health said falls can lead to a loss of confidence, injury and sometimes even death.

"As we age, we all face an increased risk of falls," she said.

"For those with low vision, that risk is dramatically higher.

"With almost half a million Australians living with sight loss this is a critical public health issue and one that needs to be tackled urgently."

Participants will work with orientation and mobility specialists and be given a program to improve balance and lower body strength.

"The specialists will draw up a personalised program that will work for the participants' lifestyle.

"Our focus is providing exercises that can be done safely and only moving on to more challenging moves once that has been mastered."

The program will run for three months.