According to the National Council on Aging, in any given year, one in three older adults will fall. Nationally, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries in those aged 65 and over. Moreover, the chances of falling and being seriously injured increase with age. “Given these kinds of statistics, it is not surprising that there is significant concern about falling among many older adults, which can lead to a decrease in activity and mobility and result in people becoming isolated,” says Sylvia Colovos, the MoveSafe Counselor at Greater Lynn Senior Services. “Our mission is to help older adults and people living with disabilities remain active and independent in the community, so falls prevention is something that we take very seriously.”
Every week, Sylvia meets with people at The Kiosk for Living Well—a GLSS healthy living initiative—at various sites across the North Shore, doing assessments and teaching adults who have balance and mobility concerns simple exercises to improve balance and build strength and—equally important—confidence. (She visits the Lynn Senior Center on the first Thursday of each month from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 Noon.) The MoveSafe Counselor is funded by a grant from MassDOT, so part of the program also involves helping people to navigate the community, particularly using public transportation. Sylvia also functions as a “Travel Trainer,” providing one-on-one assistance to people who may be unfamiliar with or unsure about using public or other forms of community transportation. “I help people plan out routes to the various places they need and want to go,” she says. “And then we go together until they feel comfortable and confident.”
In addition, GLSS regularly offers workshops called “A Matter of Balance,” an award-winning, evidence-based program developed by Boston University that helps reduce fear of falling and increase the activity level of independent older adults. Workshops are highly interactive and promote goal setting, improving strength and balance, and creating a safer home environment. Classes meet once a week over an 8-week period.
For more information about the MoveSafe Counselor or The Kiosk for Living Well, visit: www.thekioskforlivingwell.org or contact Sylvia at 781-586-8538 or [email protected] For information about A Matter of Balance or other workshops offered by GLSS to improve overall health and quality of life, contact Kelsey Magnuson at 781-586-8530 or [email protected]
GLSS is the federally designated non-profit Area Agency on Aging and the Aging Services Access Point serving Lynn, Lynnfield, Nahant, Saugus, and Swampscott. The agency provides a broad range of services—everything from homecare to transportation to home-delivered meals and more—to residents age 60 and older and people living with disabilities in those communities and beyond.