It’s ‘A Matter of Balance’
Based on 2014 data for Dakota County (the most recent data available), there were 2,325 falls for people 60 years and older that required emergency care, with 769 resulting in hospitalization. To help older people remain upright and independent, Public Health collaborates with sites in the community to offer A Matter of Balance. This eight-week program is recognized by the National Council on Aging as proven to prevent falls.
Public Health’s Health Promotion Unit and the Communities for a Lifetime Initiative recruited volunteer leaders who were trained by the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging to provide A Matter of Balance programs in their community.
To the end of 2016, the program has been offered at four different sites in the county, including a senior center, assisted and independent living facilities and a church. As of December 2016, 47 participants had completed the program. Discussion and simple exercises help participants develop practical strategies to reduce their risk of falls. As a result of the program, participants reported improvement in a number of measures, including a reduction in fear of falling, making changes to their home to increase safety and incorporating the exercises they learned in class at home.
Kari Snyder, coordinator for senior adult ministries at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, said, “Our participants have really enjoyed and benefitted from the classes.”
For more information, check out the Preventing Falls webpage.