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In the News

CAPCOG master trainer strives to help others prevent falls, others can too

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Melinda Carter has worked as a registered nurse since 1982 throughout Texas and has actively treated people’s illness and conditions. But in 2012, she wanted to give back to her community in a different way; she wanted to help prevent people from even entering the hospital. So Carter volunteered to be a coach and then a master trainer for A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns about Falls — a CAPCOG program that seeks volunteers to improve the health and wellness of older adults.

“I love it, I love to teach, and I love older people, and I love protecting people,” said Carter, who has been training other volunteers since 2016. “I have been teaching people at senior centers, community centers, and churches ever since.”

The A Matter of a Balance, evidence-based program is one of the greatest tools to prevent falls. It helps older adults reduce their risk and fear of falling, through practical strategies and to maintain active, healthy lifestyles. CAPCOG’s Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area (AAACAP) puts on the eight-week program several times a year at different locations. While AAACAP pays some coaches, the program relies mostly on volunteers to spread the program throughout the region. At least once a year and more often if there is demand, AAACAP hosts a coaches training.

Falls among older adults can be costly and end with long hospital stays. One in four Americans who are 65 years old or older fall every year, and falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older adults. Being A Matter of Balance coach helps teach older adults to view falls as controllable, set realistic goals for increasing activity, change their environment to reduce fall risks, and promote exercise to increase strength and balance.

“As a volunteer you can be out in the community doing exactly what I am doing,” Carter said. “It is so rewarding, because I get to see such drastic changes in every single person. When they do their exercises and learn the program, they are empowering themselves and staying safe.” This program uses a variety of methods to illustrate its practices, making it fun and active to teach. “All the facets of what people learn over the eight weeks come together, and as your students experience the whole program, it is priceless to know they might not restrict their activities, they might go places, they might not just sit in the recliner because they are afraid of falling,” Carter added.

> Find out how to schedule A Matter of Balance programs or to become a coach.
> Learn more about AAACAP.

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