An initiative of The N.C. Center for Health & Wellness at UNC Asheville

A Matter of Balance

What Is It?

Many older adults experience a fear of falling. People who develop this fear often limit their activities, which can result in physical weakness, making the risk of falling even greater. A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns About Falls is a program designed for empowerment to reduce the fear of falling and increase activity levels among older adults.

A Matter of Balance includes eight two-hour sessions for a small group led by a trained facilitator. This nationally recognized program was developed at the Roybal Center at Boston University.

Who should attend A Matter of Balance Class?

The program was designed to benefit community-dwelling older adults who:

  • Have had a fall in the past year, or have a fear of falling
  • Walk independently or with a cane or walker
  • Are able to participate in a group discussion
  • Live in their own home or other independent living facility
  • Are able to converse in English (some classes are given in Spanish)
  • Have a desire to learn how to reduce their risk of falling
  • Have a desire to improve balance, flexibility and strength

 

What are the components of A Matter of Balance?

A Matter of Balance is a structured group intervention that utilizes a variety of activities to address physical, social and cognitive factors affecting fear of falling and to teach fall prevention strategies. The activities include group discussion, problem-solving, skill building, assertiveness training, videotapes, sharing practical solutions and exercise training.

During the class, participants learn to:

  • View falls and fear of falling as controllable
  • Set goals for increasing activity
  • Change their environment to reduce fall risk factors (uses a home safety evaluation and action planner to reduce fall risk hazards in the home and community).
  • Promote exercise to increase strength and balance

Each of the eight sessions is two hours in length, including a break for light refreshments. Early sessions focus on changing attitudes and self-efficacy before attempting changes in actual behavior. The exercise component, which begins in the third session, takes about 30 minutes of the session to complete.

Register for this Workshop