Avera Medical Minute AM: Managing Concerns About Falls - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Avera Medical Minute AM: Managing Concerns About Falls

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Jackie Esping leads a group of seniors on ways to get over fears of falling and regain confidence. Jackie Esping leads a group of seniors on ways to get over fears of falling and regain confidence.

Clarice Versaevel wasn't always the strong confident woman she is now. Less than a year ago, Clarice fell in a parking lot, fracturing her knee cap. After surgery,her doctor told her about a program called a Matter of Balance.

"I thought it sounded very interesting and I could really use it because I wanted to get on my feet and walk again like I used to, I'm 90 years old so I don't want to spend the rest of my life sitting!" Said Versaevel.

Falling not only can injure older folks, but it can rob them of their confidence and keep them from enjoying and living their life. 

"It kind of isolates them, they don't want to go to some family functions they may not want to go to church, shopping, those are some of the things that hold them back after a fall." Said Jackie Esping, the program coordinator for a Matter of Balance.

It's an 8 week rehab and instructional program that is designed to get folks like Clarice, back on their feet

"The first couple of weeks we talk about their fear of falling and ways to overcome those and then in the third session we start bringing in those exercises in and that's where all the fun comes in, we like to have fun with that, we start with exercising and then group discussions afterwards." Said Esping.

Jackie is an Avera Adult Services Coordinator and has been running the program for the past few years. in those years a Matter of Balance has never lacked willing participation. Jackie leads the exercises to help people regain their strength but the group discussions allow participants to come up with their own ideas on how to make their home and daily life safer.

"We use the word assertiveness, we want them to be assertive to asking for things you need and maybe there won't be as many falls and we can try to protect you." Said Esping.

Clarice and her husband moved into an apartment at Hill Street Place in December to be closer to the doctors and services at Avera Marshall. While she has already graduated from a matter of balance, she enrolled again to stay active. She hopes her example will inspire other seniors who might be a little reluctant to sign up.

"I think it would benefit everybody to do it, you become much more aware of the things out there where you could fall and it helps us (learn) how to maintain our balance and how to get up and get down and watch out for things." Said Versaevel.

Falling down can be a frightening experience, but with programs like a Matter of Balance, seniors can learn to rise above their fear.

"It's a great thing, it's a great benefit it's well worth it and it's fun." Said Versaevel.

Last spring, Clarice and her husband Bill both took the class and at 96 years young, Bill became the oldest person to graduate from a Matter of Balance so far.

For more information about a Matter of Balance or other programs at Avera Marshall just call 877-AT-AVERA.

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