Region 8 organization teaches seniors about falling without fear

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A Region 8 organization is working to help senior citizens live a fuller life. The Center on Aging Northeast is beginning a four week program called, "Matter of Balance".

Outreach Specialist for Center on Aging Northeast, Cynthia Abel, is teaching the class.

She says the purpose of this program is to help seniors combat the problem of falling, "We are focusing on people's fear of falling. Why they fear it, what they can do to combat it, practical solutions that they can use. We try to give them confidence. We also offer from the third session on exercises to help their balance and to strengthen their lower body."

Abel says a big advantage of this program is the opportunity to discuss the problem with others in the same situation, "What we try to do is an interactive program where everyone gets together and talks about what their fears are and what they think they can do to help. And everyone gives their own opinion and we all learn from each other."

Abel says this is the Center on Aging's fourth year to offer this class.

She says one of the biggest obstacles seniors work to overcome is stairs, "This seems to be one of seniors biggest fears, stairs. Any type of stairs. In the home, going down a building, they're nervous about them. So, we talk about having a buddy go with them. Particularly, across the street. They can lean on each other and support each other and it's a lot better than trying to do it by themselves."

Abel says falling and causing serious injury is a bigger problem than people realize, "Most people who fall, like eighty percent of women, break a hip. You know, it's a big fear."

There are a number of things they do in the class to combat the fear and help seniors make their situations safer. "For instance, there are a lot of things in the home that can be a problem. Clutter, slip rugs. You know, you have a rug that's slippery and you fall and break a hip. So, there's a lot of things you can do to make your home safer. So, we talk about that."

Abel says they also have a physical therapist come in toward the end of the program to show participants how to fall without hurting themselves and if they do fall, how to get back up safely.

The class will meet Wednesday's and Fridays from 12:45 to 2:45.

It will run through October the eighth.

They will be accepting additional people up to the second class, but after that it will be closed.

For more information about this seminar or the Center on Aging you can call 870-336-5088 or log onto their website.

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