I'll try anything
by Shireen Shahawy, Consultant to Partnership for Healthy Aging
Cecelia "Cece" Miller has lived by herself for the last three years. Though her son keeps a key to her apartment "just in case," Cece is on her own and is extremely proactive when it comes to her safety. She retired in March of 2003, and by May of that year her pulmonary specialist directed her to be placed on oxygen. Including the oxygen in her daily life has meant some changes, but Cece remains upbeat and in charge.
Cece is 67 years old and spends a fair amount of time at the Jimmy Dimora Community Center in Bedford Heights, Ohio. She learned about the Matter of Balance class while at the Center for a 60+ Club meeting. When she saw a sign on the counter promoting the class, she knew it would be a good idea. Learning how to be safe and prevent falls was on the top of her mind. Just three short weeks before signing up for A Matter of Balance, she had sustained a fall in her home.
Before her own fall, Cece had watched her mother work through the recovery process of a broken hip - caused by a fall while attending an event away from her home. Her own fall, coupled with the memory of her mother's struggle, made her decide that she would be willing to "try anything" to keep herself safe.
Cece took a lot of the exercise ideas away from the class and she regularly does chair exercises in her home. She also tries to include a televised exercise show in her weekly training routine. She shares what she has learned in the class with her eighty-plus year old mother. They both benefit from her commitment to staying strong and safe.
Cece shared a great deal about the safety tips she learned in the class. She has changed how she positioned her shower mat, and also started using a safer tub chair after hearing about one in the class. The class went over moving telephone cords out of walkways, and Cece uses the same diligence when monitoring her oxygen tank cord. The class discussed rug grips, and all participants had a word to share about avoiding ice during the winter.
When talking about the class, Cece had this to say, "It's a lot to learn on safety. It helps you to be more aware of how you're stepping and your own movement. It's very interesting. Very." More importantly, she encourages people to make the commitment and to do what they need to do to keep themselves safe. Seeing her own mother's struggle with recovery from a fall was inspiration enough to keep her motivated.
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A Matter of Balance is an award-winning program designed to manage falls and increase activity levels. The program consists of eight 2-hour sessions. Participants learn to set realistic goals to increase activity, change their environment to reduce fall risk factors, and learn simple exercises to increase strength and balance.