This week the state of Maine is promoting Falls Prevention Awareness Week and with the winter season coming around again, the University of New England’s Geriatric Education Center wants to remind seniors they can take action to reduce their risk of falling.

Many seniors are fearful of falling and often change their schedules or curtail activities they enjoy because of it. But, the Southern Maine Agency on Aging presents a class that can help York and Cumberland County area seniors proactively face their fear of falling.

The class, “A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns About Falls,” emphasizes practical strategies to reduce the fear of falling and to increase activity levels, which can also help prevent falls. The class also encourages participants to view falls and the fear of falling as controllable. Interested seniors may call Anne Murray at (800) 427-7411 to get more information on upcoming classes.

According to the Maine Falls Prevention Coalition Report to

the Legislature:

• It’s estimated that one-third of adults over the age of 60 and 50

percent of adults over the age of 80 will fall each year.

• The medical cost associated with each fall-related hospitalization is

estimated at $37,000.

• Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury and deaths among people over the age of 65, and the leading cause of doctor visits, hospital admissions, and emergency room visits.

“With these sobering statistics in mind, the Coalition is eager to get the word out to Maine seniors that this class can help them take back control of their lives. All too often, seniors simply reduce their activity levels because of a fear of falling, and that’s the last thing we want for them,” said Diana Scully, director of the Office of Elder

Services at the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

“A Matter of Balance” is an award-winning program designed to manage falls and increase activity levels. The program consists of eight sessions. Participants learn to set realistic goals to increase activity, change their environment to reduce fall risk factors and learn simple exercises to increase strength and balance.


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