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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498

Date: August 5, 2013


NEW CASTLE (Aug. 5, 2013) - To meet the health needs of Delaware's fast-growing senior population, the Department of Health and Social Services is expanding free fall-prevention classes statewide called A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns about Falls.

The program, which is designed to reduce fear and increase activity levels among older adults, has been offered through the RSVP programs in New Castle and Sussex counties with more than 330 people taking the classes. Through the work of DHSS' State Office of Volunteerism and a grant provided through the Delaware Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC), the program also will be offered in Kent County.

"By 2030, Delaware will have the ninth-highest proportion of persons age 65 or older among all states," DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf said. "Classes like Matter of Balance will help to provide the supports and services that our growing number of older Delawareans will need to age safely and with dignity in their homes."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every three adults age 65 and older falls at least once a year. Many of these falls are largely preventable. Because of this anxiety of falling, many older adults often limit their activities, which can result in physical weakness, making the risk of falling even greater.

"By offering this program to seniors throughout the state, it is our hope we will help them maintain their independence by developing strategies to address some of the changes that come with age," said Deborah Vandiver, RSVP New Castle and Sussex manager.

A Matter of Balance classes are led by master trainers and are limited to 12 seniors per class to give attendees a personalized experience. The classes utilize a variety of activities to address physical, social and cognitive factors affecting the fear of falling and to teach fall prevention strategies. The activities include group discussion, problem-solving, skill-building, assertiveness training, videotapes, sharing practical solutions and exercise training. During the class, participants learn to:

For more information or to register for the free classes, contact the coordinator in your area: New Castle County: Susan Fox, 302-255-9695 Kent County: Daphne Strickland, 302-734-1200 Sussex County: April Willey, 302-856-5815

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.