Did you know that falls are NOT a normal part of aging, and most falls can be prevented? Hebrew SeniorLife works throughout Massachusetts and in our own senior living communities to educate seniors about this fact through our evidenced-based programs department. Our work supporting evidence-based programs helps empower older adults to become more active partners in managing their own health care.
One of the evidence-based healthy aging initiatives we focus on is called A Matter of Balance. Developed by Boston University, A Matter of Balance works to reduce fear of falling, stop the fear-of-falling cycle, and increase activity among seniors. Over eight two-hour sessions, participants begin to see falls and fear of falling as controllable while also learning exercises that build leg strength, flexibility and endurance. A physical therapist visits to demonstrate how to get up from a fall and educate seniors on causes such as dehydration or not using a prescribed assistive device. Together, participants learn how to set realistic goals for increasing activity, learn exercises to increase strength and balance, and make changes in their environment to reduce their risk of falling.
Recently, Teresa Boughner, a fitness specialist at NewBridge on the Charles, our continuing care retirement community in Dedham, MA, brought this program to a very special participant. A resident of NewBridge on the Charles, Pat Pellows is an actress by trade. In addition to her stage and film career, she appeared as the host and narrator of the original instructional videos for the Matter of Balance program.
Now a resident at NewBridge on the Charles, it was only fitting that she benefit from the program she helped to launch! Fitness specialist Teresa Bougher had this to say about how NewBridge residents responded to Matter of Balance: “I’m so proud of all our residents’ commitment to participate in the exercise and discussion each week. In our conversations, they made it clear that fear of falling is something they all share, and that they were motivated to learn how to prevent it. Since our eight-week session, I’ve seen a refreshed attitude toward fitness and our class numbers have again increased. Two residents started exercising due to participation, and one even quit smoking as well! The spirit to stay healthy and active is thriving at NewBridge on the Charles.”