By Penelope A. Evensen R.N.
My first introduction to Balance Movement/Falls Prevention Classes at the Friendship Center was several years ago when I took my 93 year old father to the Balance Movement Plus class. I was impressed because it enabled people who had more handicaps and were at very high risk for falls than the regular Balance Movement Class.
Having just retired from a long career in Long Term Care and Rehabilitation Nursing I was all too familiar with what can happen as we age and the increasing risks for falls that come with failing health. When the Balance Movement Coordinator position opened in April 2012, I was offered the job. Here I am 2 years later thrilled to have been a part of this fantastic program!
Some quick statistics:
· 1/3 of Americans 65+ falls each year
· Every 15 seconds an older adult is treated in an emergency room
· Every 29 minutes an older adult dies from a fall
There are so many more I could list, but I think the last always makes such an impact on me. While I sit and eat a meal, like lunch, an older adult has just died from a fall. That is a hard fact to fathom.
Balance Movement Classes at The Friendship Centers provide the opportunity for people to work on their balance, strengthening muscles using light weights, doing isometric exercises and receiving education regarding issues impacting on fall risks. They also give people opportunities to share concerns and work out problems. Exercise is always more fun when done in a group with others.
I have members of the classes that have been coming for years and rarely miss a class. They not only benefit from the exercise, but also from the social aspect of getting together and at this time a number of the members actually go out for breakfast after class. This opportunity has greatly increased my awareness of the need to further educate people of the risks we all face for falls and injury and the opportunities that are available out in the community to help us prevent any of us from becoming one of these statistics.
About Penelope A. Evensen
Penelope is the Balance Movement Coordinator for the Friendship Centers. She's an R.N. and is based at the Friendship Centers' Sarasota Campus.