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A Matter of Balance

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By Rosemary Hunger

Do you believe that falls are a normal part of aging and is something that “just happens” when you get older? There are many myths about aging and “it’s normal to fall” is a very common one. Just like other myths, this one is NOT True. Fear of falling is common amongst older adults and can be so strong many people begin to limit their activities and stop doing things they love to do. Some seniors feel it is safer to stay at home or stop visiting friends. Unfortunately, limiting your activity increases your chance of falling.

Falls are preventable, and you can make changes today that will help reduce your risk of falling tomorrow. Gaining confidence is one of the best ways to reduce fear of any kind. One-way older adults with a fear of falling can increase their confidence is to work at improving their strength and balance. There are exercise classes and programs, like Matter of Balance: Managing your Concerns about Falling, specifically designed to improve balance and increase strength. It’s also very important to help seniors learn how to help themselves overcome their fear and prevent falling.
Whether your fear of falling is due to physical or medical issues, or you’re just anxious, there are things you can do to help yourself stay upright:

  1. Do exercises for balance and strength. You want to make your legs stronger, improve your balance and raise your confidence level.
  2. If you’re taking medications, have your health care provider or pharmacist review them so you’ll know if any cause dizziness, make you sleepy or might cause you to fall for any other reason.
  3. Have your vision checked
  4. At home, put away anything you could trip over on stairs and paths that you often walk, so you won’t have to worry.
  5. Check out your shoes. The American Podiatric Association has a test that can help you evaluate whether your shoes are optimal for balance.

If you find that you are limiting your life due to your fear of falling, consider participating in the upcoming Matter of Balance: Managing your Concerns about Falling class being offered at Lake Huron Medical Center, beginning February 11, 2019. During this 8-week program, you will learn how to view falls as controllable and to set realistic goals to increase activity. You will learn about changes you can make in your environment to reduce fall risks, and practice simple exercises that will improve strength and balance.

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If you are interested in learning more about the Matter of Balance class, please call Rosemary Hunger at 810-216-1035.

Rosemary Hunger is currently the Senior Services Coordinator and Coordinator of Volunteers at Lake Huron Medical Center, and has had the joy and pleasure of working with older adults for more than 25 years.

Rosemary received Dementia Care Training from Teepa Snow, one of America’s leading educators on dementia, and is a certified Positive Approach to Care Approved Trainer.  She offers a multi-session program “Until there’s a Cure, There’s Care,” at Lake Huron Medical Center, and is the current Vice President of the Dementia and Alzheimer’s Resource Committee. This is a local nonprofit organization with a focus on providing education and resources to local families who are living with Dementia/Alzheimer’s.  Rosemary is also a current member of the Board of Directors for St. Clair County Council on Aging.

In 2016, Rosemary completed training to become a Master Trainer for the program A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns about Falls, and offers this program to community seniors.

Rosemary believes that “Growing Old should be as exciting as Growing Up,” and reminds you that “growing old is a privilege that not everyone is given”- so have fun with it!

To learn about senior services and senior programs, please visit https://www.mylakehuron.com/Services/Senior-Services.aspx

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