Falls are the number one cause of injury that sends Sonoma County seniors to the hospital. In 2006, 71% of non-fatal hospitalizations of Sonoma County residents 55 and older were due to falls, resulting in fractures, dislocations, internal injuries and contusions. Many older adults who fracture a hip never regain their prior level of independence. Falls are NOT a part of normal aging. We CAN do something to prevent falls. The majority of falls can be prevented through proven methods. The Sonoma County Area Agency on Aging is sponsoring an award-winning fall prevention program called,” A Matter of Balance-Managing Concerns about Falls.”

The course is intended for seniors whose fear of falling compromises their level of social and physical activity. The course is designed to support participants to: 1) Learn how to create a safer home environment, 2) Identify fall risks including issues regarding medications, 3) Learn problem-solving strategies to address behavior that contributes to falls, and learn safety-promoting life style strategies, 4) Learn some simple exercises to promote strength, flexibility and balance, all which contribute to stability, and 5) Learn about resources in the community for added support with these topics.

The “A Matter of Balance” class series runs for 8 sessions, for 2 hours a session. The classes are limited to 10 to 12 older adults and the sessions are led by two trained volunteers. A donation of $20.00 is suggested to cover costs for the participant handbooks and handouts, however, no one will be turned away for lack of funds. The following classes are scheduled in Santa Rosa: Silvercrest Apts-Mondays, 8/8-10/3/11 2-4 p.m. and Sonoma County Family YMCA Thursdays, 8/18-10/6/11 1-3 p.m. and in Sonoma: Vintage House, 9/7-10/26/11 Wednesdays 10a.m. to noon. For more information, please call 565-5936 or, via e-mail nscott@schsd.org.