A Mat­ter of Bal­ance

Catron Courier - - News - by Sher Brown

Up to half of older adults ex­pe­ri­ence a fear of fall­ing. Peo­ple who de­velop this fear of­ten limit their ac­tiv­i­ties, which can re­sult in phys­i­cal weak­ness, mak­ing the risk of fall­ing even greater. The Roy­bal Cen­ter at Bos­ton Univer­sity has de­vel­oped a na­tion­ally rec­og­nized pro­gram de­signed to re­duce the fear of fall­ing and in­crease ac­tiv­ity lev­els among older adults. It in­cludes 8 two-hour ses­sions for a small group of 8-12 par­tic­i­pants led by a trained fa­cil­i­ta­tor. The pro­gram is known as A Mat­ter of Bal­ance.

Start­ing Tues­day, Au­gust 15, the Que­mado Se­nior Cen­ter will be spon­sor­ing A Mat­ter of Bal

ance (MOB) classes. MOB is an 8 week struc­tured group ses­sion that em­pha­sizes prac­ti­cal strate­gies to re­duce fear of fall­ing and in­crease ac­tiv­ity lev­els. Par­tic­i­pants learn to view falls and the fear of fall­ing as con­trol­lable, set re­al­is­tic goals to in­crease ac­tiv­ity, change their en­vi­ron­ment to re­duce fall risk fac­tors, and ex­er­cises to in­crease strength and bal­ance.

Each week, par­tic­i­pants will be in­volved in group dis­cus­sions about spe­cific prob­lems and will brain-storm on so­lu­tions for those prob­lems. MOB coaches will lead the group in sim­ple, gen­tle ex­er­cises to help in­crease strength, bal­ance, and con­fi­dence. Why is A Mat­ter of Bal

ance so im­por­tant to our com­mu­nity? Well, the ma­jor­ity of falls oc­cur dur­ing daily ac­tiv­i­ties. Falls are the num­ber one cause of in­jury, hos­pi­tal vis­its due to trauma, and death from an in­jury among peo­ple age 65 and older. It is es­ti­mated that one in three older adults fall each year. Usu­ally, the cause of the fall is more than just one thing, and most falls are pre­ventable. As stated ear­lier, the fear of fall­ing causes many peo­ple to re­strict their ac­tiv­ity. This re­duced ac­tiv­ity leads to sev­eral prob­lems. First, there is at­ro­phy of mus­cles, which fur­ther ex­ac­er­bates the prob­lem. It may also re­duce so­cial in­ter­ac­tion, lead­ing to iso­la­tion, anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion. MOB pro­vides the op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple with a com­mon prob­lem to come to­gether to learn from each other and help each other over­come their fear of fall­ing.

MOB is an ev­i­dence based pro­gram. That means that it has been around long enough to show that the pro­gram ac­tu­ally works. Af­ter com­plet­ing the pro­gram, 97% of the par­tic­i­pants say that they are more com­fort­able about talk­ing to some­one about their fear of fall­ing. 97% of the par­tic­i­pants are com­fort­able with in­creas­ing their ac­tiv­ity lev­els and 99% plan to keep ex­er­cis­ing af­ter the pro­gram is over. 98% of the par­tic­i­pants would rec­om­mend the class to oth­ers. Who should at­tend? The pro­gram is de­signed to ben­e­fit older adults who: 1) are con­cerned about falls 2) have fallen in the past 3) re­strict ac­tiv­i­ties be­cause of con­cerns about fall­ing 4) are in­ter­ested in im­prov­ing flex­i­bil­ity, bal­ance, and strength 5) are 60 or older and able to prob­lem-solve

Any­one in­ter­ested in par­tic­i­pat­ing should con­tact Paul Tem­ple­ton at the Que­mado Se­nior Cen­ter 575-773-4820. Class lim­ited to 12 par­tic­i­pants.

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