Falls are the number one cause of injury, hospital visits due to trauma, and death from an injury among people age 65 and older. There are many factors that can increase the risk of falling such as past falls, trip hazards, balance problems, improper footwear, poor vision, medications, rushing, memory problems, and so much more. Falls among older adults is a serious issue, but there are many ways to reduce the risk of falling. UPCAP, the U.P.’s Area Agency on Aging, recommends anyone with a fear of falling or who has a history of falling attend a “Matter of Balance” class.
This nationally recognized, evidence-based program was developed at Boston University. The classes are designed to benefit older adults who have sustained a fall in the past, or those who have a fear of falling. People who develop a fear of falling often limit their daily activities which can result in physical weakness, making the risk of falling even greater.
A “Matter of Balance” has been shown to reduce the fear of falling and increase activity levels among older adults.
It includes eight 2-hour sessions (either once a week for eight weeks, or twice a week for 4 weeks) for a small group of 8-12 participants led by two trained coaches. After attending these classes, participants gain confidence by learning to view falls as controllable.
They also set goals to increase physical activity, giving them increased strength and balance. Participants also learn to make changes at home to reduce fall risk. This may be something as simple as the placement of a rug or a cord.
UPCAP and many community partners offer Matter of Balance classes throughout the U.P. You can visit http://www.upcap.org and click on the Events link to see if an upcoming workshop is in your area. If you don’t see one, please dial 2-1-1 to and ask to be put on the waiting list for the “Matter of Balance” workshops.
Once you are on the waiting list, you will be contacted when a workshop is scheduled in your area. If your group or organization is interested in hosting a “Matter of Balance” class, please contact Tonya LaFave at UPCAP at 906-786-4701.