Golden Living . . . News for Seniors, Their Families and Caregivers

Todd N. Tancredi, Director

Dutchess County Office for the Aging

The Office for the Aging is now taking applications for its spring 2019 “A Matter Of Balance” classes. Available in Dutchess County since 2015, with support from Health Quest, “A Matter Of Balance” is an award winning, research-based program aimed at helping older adults reduce their risks for falling.

The classes help participants in many ways:

  • to view falls and fear of falling as controllable;
  • set realistic goals for increasing activity, and
  • change their environment to reduce fall risk factors.

The program also promotes exercise to increase strength and balance. Thirty minutes of exercise are included in each class, beginning with the third session. The program is comprised of eight weekly sessions.

Those most likely to benefit from “A Matter of Balance” include older adults who are concerned about falls; have fallen before; restrict activities because of concerns about falling; are interested in improving flexibility, balance and strength; and who are at least age 60, ambulatory and able to problem-solve.

Statistics show that one out of three adults over 65 fall in the course of a year, with the risk of a fall increasing with age. One out of two adults over 80 will fall. In Dutchess County, falls account for more than half of emergency room visits in a year.

If you’ve read this far and are still hesitant about signing up for a class, please remember that the risks of falling increase with physical inactivity – in other words, the less you do because of a fear of falling, the more likely it becomes that you’ll fall. “A Matter of Balance” is designed to address your concerns and improve your confidence.

The spring series of classes will be held throughout Dutchess County. Likely sites will be in the City and Town of Poughkeepsie, Wappingers Falls, Fishkill, Rhinebeck, Pleasant Valley and Dover Plains. Other sites may be added depending on demand. Classes are generally held in the spring and fall, but summer classes may be added if demand is sufficient.

Seniors interested in participating in classes must fill out an application. Applications are available at www.dutchessny.gov/aging, by email at ofa@dutchessny.gov, or by calling the Office for the Aging at 845-486-2555. Callers should request an application for “A Matter of Balance”. Class space is limited to fourteen participants.

In the meantime, here are a few simple tips to reduce your risk of falling at home:

    • Clear your hallways and walkways of impediments like boxes and electrical cords;
    • Move coffee tables and plant stands away from high-traffic areas;
    • Immediately clean up spills, especially if they’re greasy or oily;
    • Repair any loose carpeting or floorboards;
    • Make sure your bathtub includes a non-skid mat, and perhaps grab bars and/or bath seat;
    • Light your living spaces well – especially your bedroom, bathrooms, hallways and stairs;
    • Have multiple flashlights available in strategic locations in the event of power outages.

Golden Living is prepared by the Dutchess County Office for the Aging, 27 High Street, Poughkeepsie, New York 12601, telephone (845) 486-2555, email: ofa@dutchessny.gov website: www.dutchessny.gov/aging