A Matter of Balance

“A Matter of Balance” is an 8-week program produced by the National Council on Aging. According to the NCOA, this program acknowledges the risk of falling while emphasizing practical coping strategies to reduce this fear.

This is achieved through the following methods:

  • Promoting a view of falls and fear of falling as controllable—Studies show that many older adults are afraid of falling and respond to this fear by becoming less active. This program, which is led by volunteer coaches, focuses on empowering seniors.
  • Setting realistic goals for increased activity—Staying physically active can help seniors maintain their independence and can reduce social isolation. Increased activity may be challenging for seniors who worry about falling; this intervention program is designed to provide a forum for seniors to talk about their fears in a supportive environment.
  • Changing the environment to reduce fall risk factors—Studies show that many falls occur during routine activities, are caused by more than one issue, and can be prevented. Paying attention to the environment and making changes as needed (such as installing hand rails) can be very helpful.
  • Promoting exercise to increase strength and balance— Non-strenuous, repetitive exercises such as leg extensions and knee raises can improve overall balance, flexibility and strength. Even when modifications are required, low-impact exercises can help strengthen muscles and increase flexibility.

Programs such as these can help improve the quality of life among older adults.