Wellness: Improving lives with Otago

At her 7th week of being on the program, she began to cry when the Personal Trainer was working with her.  He asked why she was tearful.  She said because she “never was able to get out of her chair without help until now.”

Many of us take for granted the basic activities of daily life. Getting up out of a chair, walking to the mailbox or getting out of the house to meet friends for lunch or exercise. As we age, many of these daily tasks become difficult. This can result in isolation, depression and injuries.

Otago is a local program that can help:

• Improve your balance and leg strength

• Maintain your confidence and independence

• Carry out daily exercises without fear of falling

• Engage in daily activities without fear of falling

• Reduce the number of falls and the number of injuries from falls

What is Otago?

Otago is an individually customized, home-exercise program designed to improve strength and balance and to prevent falls.  It is delivered in your home, where a trained instructor visits you and provides a set of individually prescribed exercises.  The program includes a home-safety check and a medication review.  You can participate in this program for up to a year at no cost to you!

Who qualifies for the Otago program? If you are . . .

• 80 years or older

• 65 years or older with two or more chronic conditions

• Having falls

• Having problems with balance and/or strength

• Living at home, in assisted living, or in an adult foster home.

If you answered “yes” to some or all of these questions and are able to walk with or without an assistive device, you may be eligible for the Otago Exercise Program.  Contact ADRC Aging and Disability Resource Connections to start the process:  1-866-206-4799 or stop by the Tillamook NWSDS office or the Tillamook YMCA for more information.

Otago is an evidence-based home exercise program developed in New Zealand

Studies show that the Otago Exercise Program reduced risks of falls and related injuries by 35%.

In Tillamook County a licensed Physical Therapist and a Personal Trainer will instruct you on an individualized strength and balance program as well as a walking program.  

The Otago program in Oregon started in 2015 in Marion and Polk Counties under NWSDS.  The program has received over 1,000 referrals and served over 600 people with 70% of those served graduated from needing the program.   We have been honored to serve Otago clients in Tillamook County for over a year with great success.  Most have reported fewer falls, greater confidence in transferring and walking, greater strength, improved balance and greater community involvement.  

As well as referrals from individuals we welcome referrals from family members, friends, doctors, adult foster care homes, assisted living facilities or any community member concerned about fall prevention.


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