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Local

YMCA to raise awareness about fall prevention

Understanding the risks of falling

The Newton YMCA invites older adults to try its water exercise class from 9 to 10 a.m. Friday for free.
The Newton YMCA invites older adults to try its water exercise class from 9 to 10 a.m. Friday for free.

National Falls Prevention Awareness Day and the Newton YMCA are joining the National Council on Aging and the Falls Free Coalition for 10 Years Standing Together to Prevent Falls Sept. 22, a day of action to help raise awareness and prevention of falls in Newton and Jasper County.

Each year, it’s estimated that one out of three Americans aged 65 or older will suffer a fall, leaving many of these adults with a fear of falling that can cause them to limit physical activities. This leads to reduced mobility and diminished quality of life, and actually increases their risk of falling. In addition, as the population ages falls put an immense strain on the health care system, with the financial toll expected to reach $67.7 billion by 2020. The good news is that falls are preventable. With a focus on healthy aging, the Y is committed to helping older adults learn their fall risk and access programs that can help them reduce their risk for falls.

“Falls are preventable, but many older adults and their families don’t know how to safely get active; the good news is that organizations like the Y can help,” Rhonda Robson, associate executive director, said.

The first step to prevention is understanding risk. Older adults can assess their fall risk by taking a simple test at www.ymca.net/health-wb-fitness. Through this assessment, individuals can learn how routine activities and other factors help determine their risk for falls.

Once assessing risk, the next step is to take action. The Newton YMCA is helping to improve the health and well-being of older adults across the country through programs like Chair Cardio/Strength, Body Sculpt, Water Exercise, Aqua Fit, Arthritis Foundation YMCA Aquatic Program (AFYAP) and Yoga. These group fitness classes focus on balance and core strength.

The Newton Y would like to extend an offer to all community seniors, come try its Chair Cardio/Strength and Water Exercise Friday for free. The class is a wonderful opportunity to see how the Y can help prevent falls. The Water Exercise is from 9 to 10 a.m. and the Cardio/Strength Chair class is from 10 to 10:45 a.m. Come join the fun.

The CDC suggests these basic lifestyle and safety changes to help reduce risk or prevent falls:

• Begin an exercise program to improve your leg strength and balance.

• Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines.

• Get annual eye check-ups and update your eyeglasses.

Make your home safer by:

• Removing clutter and tripping hazards.

• Putting railings on all stairs and adding grab bars in the bathroom.

• Installing proper lighting, especially on stairs.

To learn more about the Newton YMCA Moving for Better Balance/Healthy Living programs, contact Hannah Bartlett, group fitness coordinator at 641-792-4006 or hannah.barlett@newtonymca.org.

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