“Matter of Balance” classes to be held in Albany and Princeton

Matter of Balance

For those who are concerned about falling, the University of Missouri Extension has classes starting on May 16, 2017, in Albany and Princeton that can help them stay independent longer. It does not have to be a constant concern – it is a Matter of Balance. And doing something to prevent falls is not just for September, but can happen year-round.

The Matter of Balance class, developed by MaineHealth’s Partnership for Healthy Aging, helps people address concerns about falling. The eight-session class is designed to benefit community-dwelling older adults who have sustained a fall in the past, or perhaps simply are having balance issues and are worried that they may fall and lose the ability to take care of themselves. It is also for anyone who is making choices to restrict their usual activities because of a fear of falling. But the class is really for those who are interested in making some changes so that they can feel more comfortable and confident living on their own.

According to the National Council on Aging, “Every 13 seconds, an older adult is seen in an emergency department for a fall-related injury.” But many of these falls are preventable. They recommend:

  • Find a good balance and exercise program.

  • Talk to your health care provider.

  • Regularly review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Get your vision and hearing checked annually.

  • Keep your home safe.

  • Talk with your family members.

Participants in the class will learn practical ways to incorporate all of these skills into daily life. They will also identify their challenges and concerns (those things that might keep them from leading the active social lifestyle they have enjoyed earlier in life) and find solutions that work for them as individuals. More specifically they will learn to:

  • View falls and the fear of falling as controllable.

  • Set realistic goals for increasing their activity levels.

  • Change their environment to reduce fall risk factors.

  • Do exercises designed to increase strength and balance.

During the course, class members will examine their own situations and determine what and how they can adjust to lessen the likelihood of falling. Just because someone feels less stable on their feet does not mean they have to feel trapped by their circumstances. The bottom line is that Matter of Balance participants learn to find balance – physical balance to reduce the risk of falling, as well as a balance between a healthy awareness of limitations and the changes they can make in their behavior and environment to make living independently a more realistic expectation and a more positive experience.

Meridith Berry and Janet Hackert, specialists with the University of Missouri Extension, will teach the eight-session Matter of Balance class in Albany and Princeton on May 16, 19, 23, 26, 30, June 2, 6, 9, 2017. The Albany class will be held 9:30-11:30 a.m., at the Gentry County Extension Center, Hundley-Whaley Research Farm, 1109 S. Birch Street. The Princeton class will be held 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Princeton, 1308 E. Main Street. This class has a $20 participant fee but scholarships are available. Ask for a free voucher when signing up for the class. The program is funded, in part, by the Northwest Missouri Area Agency on Aging with funding from the Older American’s Act of 1965, as amended through a contract with Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Those interested in attending the class are asked to contact Janet Hackert at 660-425-6434 or may email at [email protected], or you may contact Meridith Berry at 660-359-4040 or by email at [email protected] to register. To register locally for the Princeton class, contact Ann at the First Baptist Church at 660-748-3116. Also, if you need special accommodations to participate, please inform us when you register. Class size is limited so registration is strongly encouraged to secure a spot in the class.