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Partnership for Healthy Aging

Activity and attitude contributes to quality of life

We received the following e-mail and photo from Gloria Banks, A Matter of Balance Coach with the Hamilton County Health Department in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She talks about how staying active contributes to our physical and mental health.

My name is Gloria Banks and I've just completed the Matter of Balance volunteer lay leader training with the Hamilton County Health Department in Chattanooga, TN.

I want to take a moment to thank you for offering such a great program for mature adults. I've had excellent role models in my life so I know firsthand that daily exercise improves one's quality of life in later years. My Dad is now 88 years old, and until his mid 70's, walked six to eight miles daily over the sandy desert in Yuma, Arizona. He continues to live in a house and enjoys life to its fullest - including driving a 40-foot motor home across country each of the last two years. Our family carefully monitors his driving and his reaction times - staying within the lines, proper signaling, turning, etc. and his driving is amazing. And my Dad's Uncle still mowed his grass and chopped wood into his 100's. Yes, genes have something to do with this, but we've always believed staying active is even more important. My Dad's grandmother was still volunteering at the nursing home when she turned 100. My Dad's brother (same genes) sat in a chair after retirement and passed away years ago. I've always looked forward to growing old, because these family members showed me how much fun I could have after 60. Your program WILL make a difference on how we all look at aging.

My husband is a stroke survivor. He began walking steps, and then short distances, slowly building up to a mile or two each day. We adapted biking when he first began to ride again, using a sociable bike - also called a quad. This bike allowed my husband to ride in the gears that were most comfortable for him (while I rode in the gears most comfortable for me) and it allowed me to take over for both of us when he tired. Now he rides his own bike, with gears and brakes on the right side of the handlebars since his left side was weakened by the stroke. We also use a double kayak so I can take over when he tires. Bill has recovered so much, in part by resuming activity - and never asking, "Why me?"

Your program is so valuable both to the physical wellness of us older folk, but also to our mental wellness. Thanks again for sharing it.


Gloria Banks



Gloria Banks and her husband, Bill, enjoying their sociable bike.



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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.




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