"I'm 91 years old, and I enjoy coming to fitness classes," said Al Bean.
Bean is just one of many who have attended classes through Eastern Area Agency for Aging to help him gain strength and balance. Each exercise class incorporates balance.
"Tai Chi or yoga or they'll do strength training with us. We're really specialized in older adult physical fitness," said Lisa Dunning, the Wellness Program Director for Eastern Area Agency for Aging. "Falls are a huge problem not only for individuals but the first fall can be the last fall for somebody."
According to Susan Colin's office, in 2014 approximately 2.8 million older Americans were treated in emergency rooms after falling and more than 800,000 hospitalized. 27,000 of those resulted in death. The annual total direct medical cost of fall-related injuries for older adults is approximately $34 billion, and the estimated total cost of falls in Maine is $245 million.
Their office states as the baby-boomer generation continues to age, these costs could nearly double within the next 5 years, but there's something seniors can do now to help prevent them from falling.
"We're offering fall-risk assessment opportunities not only at our annex location at the Airport Mall but in peoples homes all year long," said Dunning.
The fall-risk assessments include looking at medications, the way the home is set up, and what the individual's physical activity level. They can even take a matter-of-balance class which is all about reducing the fear of falling.
"It's a class where people come together just like them and they can learn from one-another or what are the strategies that may might employ to not fall down
The first step is to give Eastern Area Agency for Aging a call at 1-800-432-7812.