Older Adults Invited to Take Class to Minimize Falls

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Ray Vliek practices his balance using his cane and a chair back.

By Sue Moore

Fear of falling and breaking bones is a demon that older adults have to deal with every day, says Aileen Greanya and Rexalee Goecker. They should know; they are coaches for a class on improving balance so that people can learn to view falls as controllable and receive tips to help reduce the risks of falling in their own homes.

The class will be offered through the South County Community Services (SCCS) at the Vicksburg United Methodist Church each Wednesday and Friday in September, from 10 a.m. until noon. Participants will practice low impact exercises to increase strength and balance. The class is free; however, pre-registration is required because the class is limited to 14 participants.

“We also help with a home assessment, as to what might be hazards to avoid,” the duo remarked. They are well qualified to teach the course, having taken it themselves through the Area Agency on Aging, and have volunteered to pass their knowledge on to others. This will be their third time teaching the class.

Over 50 percent of admissions to hospitals for people 65 and over are the result of a fall, they claim. “Falls lead to injury, a lack of independence, or even death, so we work on low impact exercises to improve balance, endurance, strength and flexibility,” Greanya said. “We even give hints about what to do if you actually experience a fall.”

“It’s important not to become sedentary,” Goecker said. “You have to keep moving, so one exercise we practice is ankle rolls to improve flexibility and help get out of bed in the morning.”

The actual class dates in September are: 3, 5, 10, 12, 17, 19, 24, and 26. To register, call SCCS at 269-649-2901.

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