ACTIVE AGING

Aging safely can be a matter of balance

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A volunteer group in Las Cruces has taken on the job of helping seniors stay safe and healthy through a class addressing “A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns About Falls.”

The no-cost class is designed to help people become more active by examining obstacles keeping them from being active, said master trainer Kathy Norris. It helps them Look at their homes and other surroundings for obstacles that can affect their safety.

The program also helps individuals start thinking about what will make their movements safe. They learn simple exercises focusing on enhancing endurance, flexibility and strength, Norris said. Exercises are adapted for those with disabilities or handicaps, she said.

“One of the great things about it is when you get a group together and someone comes up with a problem everybody helps,” Norris said. “It creates a little community, gives an outlet to have someone to work with on questions that come up.”

Matter of Balance has been moving around Las Cruces for about five years now, she said, except for Covid years.

“We are just picking up classes now,” she said. “We are working through May, typically take the summer off and start up again in September.”

Taking place twice a week, the month-long class is free and run by trained volunteers, it moves to a different provided space every time. It has been held in churches, at the Community Action Agency and the Good Samaritan Center to name a few.

The program is based on “Fear of Falling: A Matter of Balance,” developed at Boston University in 1995 and the exercises are carefully designed to improve and not harm the user.

According to a program handout, exercise and physical activity can help seniors maintain and improve strength; have more energy; improve balance; delay some diseases like heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis; and reduce depression.

“It’s very helpful to people just to get them moving, get them thinking,” Norris said. “And it’s open to any senior citizen, ages 65 to up past 90.”

For more information or to sign up to participate contact Norris at 575-642-6122.