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Generations looking for fall prevention coaches

Mar. 6—Falling is a concern for many older adults but thanks to the A Matter of Balance program offered through Generations Area 13 Agency on Aging and Disability, there are free opportunities to help reduce those falls.

"Fear of falling can be just as dangerous as falling itself. People who develop this fear often limit their activities, which can result in severe physical weakness, making the risk of falling even greater. Many older adults also experience increased isolation and depression when they limit their interactions with family and friends," said Alma Kramer, Generations healthy aging coordinator. "A Matter of Balance can help people improve their quality of life and remain independent."

Designed to reduce the fear of falling and increase activity levels among older adults, participants learn to set realistic goals to increase activity, change their environment to reduce fall risk factors, and learn simple exercises to increase strength and balance.

"These are simple evidence-based exercises that will help keep people at home and independent as long as possible," said Kramer. "As part of the class, we also do a room-by-room assessment that starts outside with the sidewalk and moves all the way through the home and out the back door."

The assessment, Kramer said, has 100 bullet points that can be identified to help make homes safer.

"Our goal is always to keep people at home and able to care for themselves as long as possible," said Kramer. "This assessment will help identify areas that need to be addressed to prevent falls. That could include installing handrails, fixing a floor, adding lighting and several other things."

To offer A Matter of Balance though, there have to be coaches. Those coaches receive training to help participants learn exercises and tips to keep from falling.

"We are looking for new fall prevention coaches in this area to help teach the eight-week program," said Kramer, adding the training to become a coach is free. "Our training will be on March 20 at the Generations office in Vincennes. We have six open spots. Registration ends on March 15."

Kramer said coaches will learn exercises to increase strength, flexibility and balance as well as home safety and other fall prevention tips.

"Training will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.," she said, adding those wanting to become a coach can register for the training by calling 812-888-4527 or emailing akramer@vinu.edu.