Key Takeaways

  • Help older adults reduce their fear of falling by learning to view falls as controllable.

  • A Matter of Balance will also set goals for increasing activity levels, encourage small changes to reduce fall risks at home, and ways to exercise to increase strength and balance.

A Matter of Balance (MOB) is specifically designed to reduce the fear of falling and improve activity levels among community-dwelling older adults. The program includes eight two-hour classes presented to a small group of 8-12 participants led by trained coaches. The program enables participants to reduce the fear of falling by learning to view falls as controllable, setting goals for increasing activity levels, making small changes to reduce fall risks at home, and exercise to increase strength and balance.

The curriculum includes group discussions, mutual problem solving, role-play activities, exercise training, assertiveness training, and a few homework assignments.

Participants learn about the importance of exercise in preventing falls and practice exercises to improve strength, coordination, and balance. Participants also conduct a home safety evaluation and learn to get up and down safely. Class size is between 8-12 participants.

Additional topics include home safety, assertiveness, developing positive strategies for change, reducing barriers to exercise, identifying physical risk factors for falls, personal action planners, recognizing misconceptions about falls, and moving from self-defeating to self-motivating thoughts.

Note: Track health promotion program guidance during COVID-19 regularly for updates to program implementation and training options. Programs traditionally implemented in-person may be temporarily allowable by telephone or online.

  • Target audience: Adults 60+ who are ambulatory, able to problem solve, concerned about falling, interested in improving flexibility, balance and strength, who may have fallen in the past, and have restricted their activities because of concerns about falling.
  • Health outcomes:
    • Improved falls efficacy
    • Improved falls management
    • Increased activity/exercise level
  • Delivered by: Two Trained Coaches
  • Program type: Group
  • Format: In-person community setting, anticipated virtual update in January 2021
  • Length: 8 two-hour sessions, either once per week for 8 weeks or twice a week for 4 weeks
  • Training: In-person
  • Professional required: No
  • Accessibility adaptations available: Yes, adaptations for people with low vision include:
    • Large print materials (20 pt font)
    • Voice CD for exercises and participant manual
    • Coaching materials for lay leaders on how to lead an adaptive Matter of Balance class
    • instructions for playing the videos and pausing at key points to provide important information about who is talking and any other written information ont the screen
    • Coach training and participant materials available in Braille (digital files available to share with Braille printer for copies)
  • Cultural Adaptations available: No
  • Available in languages other than English: Albanian, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Vietnamese
  • Topic(s)
    • Physical Activity
    • Falls Prevention
  • Additional Resources

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