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September 18, 2020
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Train as a coach to help older adults prevent falls

March 22, 2019

Volunteers can help older adult increase their safety, balance, strength and confidence on their feet by training as a certified coach on June 3 with the nationally acclaimed program, A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns about Falls. The one-day training to become a certified A Matter of Balance coach will be Mon., June 3, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., at the Human Services Department Adult and Aging Division, 3725 Westwind Blvd., Santa Rosa. Reserve your space by email at mob@schsd.org or call (707) 565-5936.

Falls are the number one reason that older Sonoma County adults have to visit an emergency room. Falls can result in a hip fracture, a sprained wrist or a head injury. These injuries may mean a long recovery and can lower older adults’ quality of life or keep them from living independently in their own homes.

Coaches are trained to teach practical coping strategies to both reduce fear of falling and to diminish the risk of falling. They use group discussion, mutual problem solving and lifestyle strategies to teach safety, exercises to improve strength, coordination and balance, and how to evaluate home safety.

Classes are held throughout Sonoma County. Coaches lead at least two class series within a year after certification. Each series is eight, two-hour classes over a 4 week or 8-week period of time.

“We don’t have to accept falling as a ‘normal’ part of aging and can take action to see that it’s not,” says Human Services Department Director Paul Dunaway. “Matter of Balance coaches tell us how satisfying it is to help older adults gain physical confidence and boost their sense of optimism, all while having fun during the classes.”

While coaches are trained in group facilitation skills, Dunaway says, “It’s helpful if they come to training with good communication and interpersonal skills and the physical ability to perform the low-intensity exercises they will teach.”

The training is hosted by Sonoma County Human Services Department Area Agency on Aging and RSVP Sonoma through North Coast Opportunities, Inc. Volunteer Network. For more information about the program, visit the A Matter of Balance website.

The Sonoma County a Matter of Balance curriculum is based on Fear of Falling: A Matter of Balance and used by permission of Boston University.

Submitted by So. Co. Human Services Dept.