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Falls Aren't Inevitable

Falls can happen to anyone at any age, but for the aging Minnesotan, it is the leading cause of accidents and injury. Over one in four Americans age 65+ fall each year and as the population ages, the financial toll for older adult falls is expected to top $101 billion by 2030. A local Edina Paramedic confirmed these stats. Their emergency dispatchers most commonly respond to 911 calls because of a fall or traumatic injury in a resident’s home. Here’s the good news: falls are not inevitable as we age. 

Many trips and falls can be prevented with awareness, education, and proactive measures.

For more than a decade, Normandale Center for Healing & Wholeness has been teaching the award-winning, evidence-based program, “Matter of Balance” throughout the southwest metro. Through a partnership Minneapolis Public Housing Authority and Juniper, The Center is expanding its outreach by supporting underserved BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) older adults by offering fall prevention education to these communities. In January, The Center began it’s 4-week program on-site to a small, engaging group of seniors at Hamilton Manor, a Minneapolis public housing community in North Minneapolis. The partnership gives older adults living with low incomes a unique opportunity to socialize, gain confidence and learn simple, practical ways to move their bodies twice a week for four weeks. The group meets in a bright, sun-filled community room and is lead by two staff members from The Center.

Nadine, a spunky and independent 86-year-old woman is one of the class participants. She fell and broke her arm three years ago and admitted she “moves a little slower these days.”

“I’m feeling more confident to ask for help and comfortable with the idea of moving more” she shared. She has enjoyed the social aspect of the class and is grateful for the opportunity to keep learning and moving in her 80s.

Another participant, Suzie, is 69 and had a bad fall last year in the doorway of her apartment while carrying in her groceries. She still struggles with feeling confident about walking steadily on her feet. “I was so afraid of falling again” she recalls. She enjoys the class because it has given her practical tips like using a stroller cart to bring her groceries into her home. The program also provides simple strength and balance exercises that requires the use of just a steady, high-backed chair.

Nadine, Suzie and the other participants of the class at Hamilton Manor have fast become friends and the group is at ease discussing their own fears of falling. They share personal goals for exercise and even talked as a group about coming together each week to move together when the class has formally ended.  


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