Seniors learn that balance matters

Three out of 10 people over the age of 70 suffer falls each year that are more common and just as serious as strokes, according to Fairfield University School of Nursing.

Seniors have addressed their fears of falling through the Matter of Balance program, sponsored by the Wilton Senior Center and Fairfield University School of Nursing.

A Matter of Balance is a program developed by Boston University’s Roybal Center for Enhancement of Late-Life Function that acknowledges the risk of falling while emphasizing practical coping strategies.

Eight sites in Fairfield County have launched the eight-week Matter of Balance workshop series, including the Wilton Senior Center, which held its first workshop on Feb. 6.

Since then, the senior center has been hosting the Thursday workshops designed to help:

• Reduce fears of falling;

• Increase activity levels;

• Teach exercises to improve balance and muscle strength.

Fall prevention methods are taught by Fairfield University School of Nursing faculty and students enrolled in the Public Health Nursing course.

On March 13, Emily Gaughan, Kelly Flynn and Maura Calamari, of Fairfield University, led the Wilton Senior Center’s sixth Matter of Balance session, titled  “Recognizing Fall-ty Habits.”

During the session, they went over a home safety checklist with about 10 seniors and helped them come up with ways to change “fall-ty habits” like:

• Running to answer the phone;

• Wearing flip flops;

• Not wanting to talk to doctors;

• Forgetting to take medication.

Each Matter of Balance participant receives a workbook containing worksheets, checklists and helpful information about falling safety and prevention.

Matter of Balance lessons also include showing participants the right way to fall, good walking posture and how to sit before getting up.

Wilton Senior Center will be hosting the 1 to 3 p.m. Matter of Balance workshops until April 3.

The total program costs $10. Free workbooks and refreshments are provided.

Registration: 203-834-6240.