Reduce the Risk of Falling

“Matter of Balance” Program Starts Soon in Both Greene and Newton Counties

SPRINGFIELD — University of Missouri Extension is offering a free series of classes designed to help adults ages 60 and over learn how to prevent falls and get over the fear of falling. MU Extension faculty, as part of a new statewide grant, are supporting expansion of the “Matter of Balance” program.

“Matter of Balance” classes will be offered in Greene County from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Thursdays, Nov. 1 to Dec. 27 at the Springfield Botanical Center, 2400 Scenic Ave, Springfield.

Pre-registration for the free class is required by Oct. 27. The class size is limited. Call 417-881-8909 to register or for more information.

The classes at the Newton County University of Missouri Extension Office in Neosho will be held from 9:30 a.m.to 11:30 a.m. starting Oct 19. Additional classes will be on Oct. 26, Nov. 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30. To register call the Newton County Extension Office- (417) 455-9500.

WHY BALANCE

As the No. 1 cause of injuries and death from injury, falls threaten the independence of older adults and often prove costly, as well.

“Participants will learn to do simple exercises to increase strength and balance; additionally, they will learn how to change their environment to reduce fall risks,” said Renette Wardlow, field specialist in human development, University of Missouri Extension.

A “Matter of Balance” helps adults 60 years old and up realize that falls – and the fear of falling – are controllable. The program provides information on ways to change your environment to limit risk factors that contribute to falling and will help participants find strength and balance exercises to reduce your chances of falling.

The program is designed for adults who can move about, and problem solve.

“Up to 50 percent of Americans over the age of 65 who live independently experience a fear of falling. When older adults limit their activity due to this fear, it can reduce their mobility and independence, affecting the quality of life and increase the risk of falls,” said Wardlow.

In this program’s seven classes, participants will work with an instructor and other older adults to learn about fall prevention strategies, develop and follow a personal fall prevention plan, learn exercises to improve their balance and increase their activity levels and make or support changes in their daily lives that can reduce their fear of falling.

More information on this topic is available online at http://extension.missouri.edu.