Moore County UT Extension program helps older adults prevent falls

Community members attend the A Matter of Balance class, hosted by UT-TSU Extension Moore County, at the Moore County Senior Center in Lynchburg earlier this week. The class is free and will meet again on April 5, 8, 10, and 12. | PHOTO PROVIDED

LYNCHBURG — Falls are one of the leading medical emergencies for seniors, often resulting in injuries that impact mobility and reduce quality of life. The A Matter of Balance program, hosted by University of Tennessee-Tennessee State University (UT-TSU) Extension, teaches practical strategies to improve physical and mental wellness and prevent life-threatening accidents.

Classes in Moore County kicked off this week at the Moore County Senior Citizens Center and will be offered on Friday (April 5) from 9 to 10 a.m., next Monday (April 8) from 12 to 1 p.m. as well as 9 to 10 p.m. next Wednesday (April 10) and Friday (April 12).

A Matter of Balance is free and each session teaches attendees how to stay safe both inside and outside their residence, and offers guided exercises to increase balance. The program also helps participants achieve better mental and emotional health, particularly those living alone or who have a history of falls.

Karen Jones, family and consumer sciences agent at UT-TSU Extension Haywood County, says that falls can cause severe anxiety.

“A fear of falling can be just as debilitating as the accident itself, sometimes people will even avoid doing the things they love. Caution is important, but we want to foster confidence and positive thinking so each attendee feels capable living life to the fullest.”

A Matter of Balance teaches participants to not only set goals for improving their health, but to also create surroundings where falls are less likely to occur. Instructors suggest removing loose rugs, adding grip bars to bathrooms, installing handrails where appropriate and waiting until people are around before engaging in risky behavior such as using step ladders.

“Many falls are completely avoidable,” says Jamya Douglas, family and consumer sciences agent at UT-TSU Extension Haywood County. “A Matter of Balance is just one way to further your safety whether you live alone, with loved ones or even in a nursing home. Nothing is more important than your long-term independence.”

For more information, contact the Moore County UT/TSU Extension office at 931-759-7163. •

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