Students from Cal State University Northridge (CSUN) spent two days learning how to help older adults avoid falls during a recent Matter of Balance Coach Training at Partners in Care Foundation. Matter of Balance classes are being held in locations across California in an effort to combat the alarming rate of falls among older adults. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data reveals that one out of three older adults falls each year, resulting in 734,000 hospitalizations annually.
Matter of Balance classes help older adults reduce their fear of falling and increase physical activity. Participants learn to view falls as controllable, set goals for increasing activity, make changes in their home environments to reduce the likelihood of falling, and increase exercise.
Alia Philips, 30, who is studying Exercise Science and Kinesiology at CSUN attended the training as part of her goal to become a physical therapist specializing in geriatrics. “I have a heart for older adults, who oftentimes get overlooked in our community,” she said. “The key thing I’ve learned is that a lot of people feel very alone in their fears that they’re going to fall, and they’re afraid to talk about it because they think their independence is going to be taken away. With Matter of Balance, they’re able to share their fears in a group setting, and learn that falling is preventable not inevitable.”
The training was led by Partners’ staff, Cassandra Manfre and Ayleen Dimailig, who were excited by the students’ commitment to working with older adults. “The students were very engaged in the training and were very motivated to spread these classes throughout Los Angeles,” noted Manfre. “We are very excited to offer more coach trainings in the next few months”
Andre Darbidian, 24, who is also studying Exercise Science and Kinesiology certainly found the experience a good one, and is looking forward to getting out into the community to teach his first class. “We’ve learned that it’s never too late to make a change. Older adults can really enjoy the benefits of increased exercise. Matter of Balance gives people an opportunity to improve their confidence, their health and their lives.”
This project was supported, in part by grant number 90FP0018-01-01 from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.
For more information on Matter of Balance and other health self-management programs please visit CAHealthierLiving.com or contact: