King County Rallies to Prevent Falls

"I had fallen many times, suffered from broken bones over and over. I couldn't figure out why I was falling. I was standing at the kitchen table, turned around and I just fell—for no reason. Then at the beauty shop, I got my foot caught in the ring around the chair and had a terrible fall and broke my ankle. After the broken ankle, I broke my right foot twice from falls. I also fell and broke my shoulder and had to have surgery. It seemed like I was falling constantly and I was forever going to the ER. I had the fire department on speed dial on my phone."

Rally to Prevent Falls

Experience A Matter of Balance and EnhanceFitness at the Rally to Prevent Falls, in honor of National Fall Prevention Awareness Day, at Burien Community Center on Monday, September 17, starting at 12:00 noon. Click here for directions.

For more information, contact Andrea Meewes Sanchez (206-268-6736 or andream@seniorservices.org).

Sound familiar? This is the story of Marjorie Brown, a Seattle resident who now coaches A Matter of Balance workshops at the Southeast Seattle Senior Center. Since her involvement with A Matter of Balance, first as a participant, then as a trained coach, Marjorie has managed to avoid falls completely. It has been nearly three years since Marjorie's last fall.

Before Marjorie joined A Matter of Balance, her fear of falling became so strong that she was afraid to leave the house, became isolated and even depressed. This is a common occurrence for older adults, as we all experience a decrease in muscle strength as we get older and we see the serious repercussions of falls all around us. The good news is that everyone can do something to avoid falls. A Matter of Balance and EnhanceFitness are two classes offered through Senior Services that can help.

During an eight-week course taught by two trained coaches, A Matter of Balance participants identify "fall-ty" habits, correct hazards in the home, and gain confidence to become more active with support from a group of peers. As one participant expressed: "A Matter of Balance has benefited all of us in that we feel stronger and in more control of our bodies. I believe it has changed some people's lives."

Where A Matter of Balance is especially beneficial for those who have fallen, EnhanceFitness is a great next step to continue gaining strength and balance through exercise. There are seated and standing versions of the EnhanceFitness exercises and participants are encouraged to go at a comfortable pace in a small group setting. EnhanceFitness classes are taught by nationally certified fitness professionals trained in EnhanceFitness protocols.

"The classes keep me younger and more flexible," said 78-year-old Barbara Lezon, who attends EnhanceFitness three times a week. "I can move inside and outside because of the exercises we do. I'm down on my hands and knees in the spring weeding and planting, and I do my own housework every week. I'm only stiff in the mornings, and I know I’d be a lot stiffer if I didn’t go to class."

EnhanceFitness and A Matter of Balance are both award-winning evidence-based programs available in hundreds of sites nationwide. They have undergone scientific evaluation and proven to be effective with measurable results. Participants gain increases in physical and social function while reducing depression and hospitalizations.

To find out more about EnhanceFitness and A Matter of Balance, contact Project Enhance (206-448-5725 or projectenhance@seniorservices.org). There are over 40 EnhanceFitness locations in King County accepting class registrations daily. Three A Matter of Balance classes start this fall in Bothell, Burien, and South Seattle. Pre-registration is required. 

—Andrea Meewes Sanchez, MSW, Senior Services