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Testimony: Maine Program To Prevent Falls Spreads Across Country

A Maine-developed program aimed at preventing falls is now being used across the country. In testimony Wednesday before the Senate Aging Committee, Peggy Haynes of MaineHealth said that a program called "A Matter of Balance," trains seniors to help other seniors avoid falls.“It’s a small group program where participants learn that falling is controllable, that realistic goals to increase their activities reduce their fall risk factors," Haynes said, "and to do exercises that increase their strength and balance.”

Haynes said 1,700 master trainers across the nation have worked with more than 96,000 seniors since 2006. “Classes are taught by lay coaches. Curriculum materials include master training manuals and coach manuals and workbooks, participant workbooks and exercises that were adapted to focus on strength and balance.”

According to a committee study, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries among older adults, totaling $50 billion a year in medical costs.