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Fall prevention at Friendship Haven

Classes designed to help older adults reduce risks

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Liz Flattery teaches a Tai Chi for arthritis and falls prevention class at the Friendship Haven Wellness Center on Wednesday afternoon.

As adults get older, things like balance, strength and flexibility get more and more challenging and the risk of falling rises.

Friendship Haven’s Wellness Center is working to educate and provide resources to the area’s seniors on preventing falls.

The chances of falling and suffering serious injuries in a fall increase with age, according to the Iowa Falls Prevention Coalition. Injuries and deaths from falls have risen 20 percent over the last decade in Iowa.

September is Fall Prevention Month, with Fall Prevention Day being Sept. 23.

Friendship Haven offers two programs to specifically address fall prevention for the community, said Andrea Doster, wellness assistant.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Tai Chi for arthritis and falls prevention is one of the classes offered at the Friendship Haven Wellness Center that aims to improve balance, strength and flexibility.

“We have ongoing balance and strength classes mainly for our residents,” she said. “But I would say the ‘Stepping On’ workshop and the Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention is more for our community participants, so people who don’t live at Friendship Haven have the opportunity to come in and learn and grow and gain strength.”

The ‘Stepping On’ workshop is an evidence-based falls prevention program that empowers older adults to carry out healthy behaviors that reduce the risk of falling. The program’s workshops are offered once a week for seven weeks and are open to the community.

The other community-minded program Friendship Haven offers is its tai chi classes, which are taught twice a week by Liz Flattery.

Doster said the wellness staff has received “quite a bit of positive feedback” from participants in the two programs.

While September is Fall Prevention Month, Doster said reducing the risk of falls is something everyone should prioritize throughout the year, not just during this month.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Liz Flattery teaches a Tai Chi for arthritis and falls prevention class at the Friendship Haven Wellness Center on Wednesday afternoon.

“It’s never too late to try to improve your health,” she said. “You can improve and get stronger no matter how old you are. And we’re here to help, we’re here to facilitate and educate and help in any way we can. I think it’s important for anyone to really try to improve their strength and balance, no matter what their age.”

For more information about the Steppin’ On workshop or tai chi classes call 573-6270.