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Addressing Fall Concerns For Seniors

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Have you turned down a chance to go out with family or friends because you were concerned about falling? Have you cut down on a favorite activity because you might fall? If so, “A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns About Falls” is a program for you.

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Fear of falling can be just as dangerous as falling itself. People who develop this fear often limit their activities, which can result in severe physical weakness, making the risk of falling even greater. Many older adults also experience increased isolation and depression when they limit their interactions with family and friends. “A Matter of Balance” can help people improve their quality of life and remain independent.

“A Matter of Balance” is designed to reduce the fear of falling and increase activity levels among older adults. Participants learn to set realistic goals to increase activity, change their environment to reduce fall risk factors, and learn simple exercises to increase strength and balance. The program consists of eight (8) weekly sessions that are facilitated by pairs of volunteer coaches. A guest physical therapist joins one of the sessions to answer questions and demonstrate safety techniques. Participants receive a workbook that includes the exercise program, self-assessment tools and formats for action plans. There is a suggested donation of $10 to cover the cost of printed materials. All donations are voluntary and strictly confidential.

The Sussex County Division of Senior Services sponsors “A Matter of Balance.” Volunteers are currently being recruited to coach the program. MaryLou Schnurr, Director of the Division, stated: “This is an ideal volunteer opportunity for retired educators, nurses, those who have experience facilitating groups, and fitness enthusiasts.” Eight hours of training is provided and Master Trainers are available as mentors and monitors of the program.