McKee Medical Center is offering a new program designed to reduce the fear of falling and increase activity levels among older adults. Community response has been outstanding, according to McKee’s Manager of Senior Services, Phoebe Hawley.
“A Matter of Balance” is an eight-session class that covers fall prevention: learning to avoid behaviors that might cause falls, learning to be your own advocate when speaking with your physician and family and learning exercises to do at home to reduce your risk of falls. In addition, participants learn from a health care provider ways to get up off the floor on their own. This is important because if a person can pick himself up off the floor and then assess his condition, he may be better able to determine if there is a need to call for emergency help.
Hawley said the two-hour classes go into detail about the topics because much of the lessons require participants to rethink the way they live to improve their health and safety and ultimately improve on their quality of life. Being your own health advocate with physicians and family also is important. Hawley said some seniors might not want to tell their doctor or family about a fall out of fear they will be forced to leave their home.
The class size is 15. This allows for a support-group setting where participants can learn from each other. The first session, which begins Sept. 4, is full. Hawley has started a waiting list for future classes, but has not set dates. The class is free, but there is a suggested donation of $18 to cover the cost of the book and refreshments. Training for class instructors was funded by the Older Americans Act and the Brain Injury Trust Fund through the Larimer County Office on Aging.
Hawley and McKee physical therapist Megan McNerney attended an event recently for master educators in the program and will teach participants as well as other volunteers who will then lead classes. A Matter of Balance is an evidence-based program created at Boston University and managed by the Partnership for Healthy Aging in Maine. It is is available to Colorado residents through the support of the Colorado Department of Human Services.
For more information or to inquire about the upcoming classes in A Matter of Balance, please call (970) 635-4097.