More than one in three people in the U.S. age 65 years or older experiences a fall each year. Based on the most recent data available for Dakota County, in 2014, there were 2,325 falls for people 60 years of age and older that required emergency care, with 769 resulting in hospitalization.
A Matter of Balance Falls Prevention Program
A Matter of Balance is an 8-week group program that teaches real-world strategies to reduce the fear of falling and increase activity levels. The group typically meets once a week for two hours. Participants learn to view falls and the fear of falling as controllable as well as how to change the environment to reduce their risk factors.
Participants also set realistic goals to increase activity and practice exercises to increase strength and stability. Coaches are recruited through Dakota County’s Volunteer Program and the Medical Reserve Corps and are trained by the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging (MAAA).
Residents who have participated in A Matter of Balance workshops have reported increased confidence, improved self-efficacy, and changes in behavior and environment, all of which help limit the fear and effects of falls in their daily lives.
Dakota County Public Health offers A Matter of Balance at various community sites throughout the county. Funding from the Minnesota Department of Health’s Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) supports the program with start-up resources for community host sites and training for volunteers to become certified A Matter of Balance coaches..
The Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging maintains a calendar of A Matter of Balance classes in Dakota County and the Twin Cities. Visit the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging website for details.
Dakota County has one upcoming opportunity in West St. Paul.
- Thompson Park Activity Center: Mondays, Sept. 18–Nov. 6, 2017, 1–3 p.m. to register, call 651-403-8302.
For more information about participating in A Matter of Balance classes or becoming a volunteer coach, contact Amy Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-554-6134.
Join or start a walking group
Walking groups are a great way to stay motivated and connect with others. To find a walking group near you, visit the Simple Steps Walking Group page. To start your own walking group and/or volunteer as a walking group leader, visit the Dakota County volunteer page for current opportunities.
Consider joining a 62+ walking group that meets in Burnsville Tuesdays at 9 a.m. at the Earley Lake Trail in Day Park starting Sept. 13, 2016. Contact Jill Verchota-Luce for more information.
For information on other services and programs that can help you or a loved one live safely in their home, visit Aging and Disability Services.
Communities for a Lifetime
Find out how age-friendly your city is. Contact Communities for a Lifetime. The Communities for a Lifetime initiative brings together residents, local businesses, community organizations, cities, and county staff to create networks of vital, accessible communities.