Falls prevention programming builds confidence and strength among seniors

Introducing 'A Matter of Balance', a successful falls prevention program that saves money and improves lives.

Fear of falling is a common concern among older adults. Possessing a moderate fear of falling is associated with: decreased mobility, decreased social interaction, increased frailty and depressed mood. For adults 65 years and older, falls are the leading cause of head injuries and broken hips. In addition to being prevalent, falls are expensive - with the cost of fall injuries for 2013 totaling $34 billion dollars.

What is A Matter of Balance?

A Matter of Balance is an educational program, consisting of eight, two-hour sessions aimed at reducing the fear of falling and increasing activity levels and confidence among older adults. Throughout the course, participants establish goals for increasing activity, identify modifications to their environment to reduce fall risk, practice strength and balance exercises and learn from each other.

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Picture source: A Matter of Balance Participant Workbook. MainHealth’s Partnership for Healthy Aging

Program evaluation reveals positive and cost-saving results. Nearly 100 percent of participants report feeling more comfortable talking about their fear of falling and plan to continue building strength and balance through exercise. The course is also attributed to a $938 saving in unplanned medical expenses per Medicare beneficiary (National Council on Aging).

Who should attend?

  • 60 or older, ambulatory and able to problem-solve.
  • Concerned about falling.
  • Interested in improving flexibility, balance, and strength.

What have program participants said?

According to course surveys from participants within northern Michigan, A Matter of Balance has been very popular. When asked what changes they have made as a result of the course, participants stated the following:

“I have become more confident in reaching, taking a few steps independently and planning my movements ahead of time. Thinking about planning before any movement.” - Charlevoix County

“A good way to meet other people with similar problems” - Benzie County

“More confidence! I would recommend this course to others.” - Kalkaska County

Visit Michigan State University Extension to find A Matter of Balance in your community.

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