Program aims to limit fear of falling

“Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” is either (a) an old advertising line, (b) a joke about old people or (c) reality for many people.

In hopes of taking the stigma off the fear of falling and of reducing the fear itself, an eight-week program will be taught at the La Jolla/Riford Library.

Called “A Matter of Balance,” the program aims to help reduce the fear that can limit older people’s lifestyles or the fear their children have that their parents might get hurt, explained Maria Mazzi, who coordinates the program with Tina Munoz of the county’s Aging and Independent Services office.

A free informational meeting will be held from 10 a.m. to noon April 7 at the La Jolla/Riford Library, 7555 Draper Ave. The course will begin the following week, with each class lasting two hours. Adult children may attend with their parents, but enrollment is limited to 15.

“A lot of people think it’s an exercise class, but that’s only a small component,” Mazzi said. “Often, people are embarrassed and afraid to ask for help, so we teach them to be assertive so they can speak up for themselves.”

Sometimes that’s asking questions of a doctor or “asking their children to back off,” Mazzi added.

A lot of time is spent focusing on strategies. She talked about a woman who wanted to go to her great-granddaughter’s baby shower but was afraid to because it was on the second floor. After talking it over in class, she figured out how to get there, Mazzi said.

Another person had given up on going to the theater because it was hard to see with her limited depth perception. “Now she just gets people to help her,” she added.

In the course, participants learn to set realistic goals to increase activity. They also learn how to change their environment to reduce fall risk factors and simple exercises to increase strength and balance.

The course is taught by volunteer coaches trained by Silver Age Yoga Community Outreach and the Aging and Independence Services office.

Reservations are required. Call Mazzi at (858) 495-5500 to register or for more information.