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Matter of Balance course relieves anxiety

Is fear of falling interfering with daily activities

Anne Lawrence, an older woman, sits at home wondering about some things she needs to do in town. She waits at home, not because she has to or wants to, but because she is afraid that if she tries to go out on her own, even just walking to her car, she might fall and hurt herself. Lawrence is partly right.

Elders, especially women, are more likely to experience falls as they age. They can control their fear of falling and increase activity levels by learning skills facilitated by A Matter of Balance, a free eight-week provincially-sponsored program.

University of Victoria’s Centre on Aging delivers this award-winning program through a contingent of local volunteer coaches. This program helps participants view falls and fear of falling as controllable, in part by encouraging them to set realistic goals for increasing activity while dealing with self-defeating thoughts. It is open to all adult community members who are able to walk, problem-solve for themselves, and who restrict their activities because of concerns about falling or have experienced a fall. On a more practical side, the program will show participants how to change their environment with introduction to a home safety checklist that reduces fall risk factors, ideally encouraging participants to be more active while increasing their strength and balance.

This free program is gently paced over two-hour segments and will take place once a week for eight weeks from 10 am to noon, Wednesdays, January 19 to March 9 at Cranberry Seniors’ Centre. For information and registration, readers can call 1.866.902.3767 or email selfmanagement@eastlink.ca.