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Finding Balance is an
Injury Prevention Centre program

NOT Falling for You is a falls prevention program that is informed by the latest research. The program is designed to improve participant’s balance and reduce their risk of falling by doing specialized balance training exercises. Supported by Finding Balance, NOT Falling for You is being launched in many communities in Alberta. The classes are led by older adults who create a warm and friendly atmosphere.

NOT Falling for You is for community-dwelling older adults who can participate in an exercise class independently. The program is facilitated by Alberta Health Services and hosted by community organizations.

Weekly classes are held for sessions of about 12 weeks in duration. Volunteer peer leaders – that is, other older adults from the community - are trained to lead groups in a specific set of balance and strength exercises and in short discussions about preventing falls.

The classes are held in local venues such as community halls and churches.  The classes are provided at a very low cost for participants. Classes offer a friendly, welcoming environment for older adults even if they are not regular gym-goers.

In just a few weeks, participants have seen their risk of falling reduced and have become more confident they will not fall while participating in daily activities in and around their home and community

Interested in participating?

Choose how you would like to participate from these options:

Who can take part in the program?

Anyone can participate, but the classes are intended for people who consider themselves older adults.

The program is designed for community-dwelling older adults who can participate in an exercise class independently.

Participants should be cognitively intact so they can safely follow directions and learn new movements.

Is there a session happening near me?

Classes are held across the province. Check the class calendar to see the locations, dates, and times, and cost (if any)of the classes currently underway.

How can I join a NOT Falling for You group?

You can find contact information for each session organizer on this schedule. Please contact the session organizer directly.

How much does a session cost?

We work with each host organization to keep the cost to a minimum. Each host organization determines the cost for their session. Some host organizations require participants to purchase a membership in their organization to participate. See the schedule for cost information.

What should I wear and bring to the class?

Bring a clean, comfortable pair of shoes such as walking or running shoes. Wear comfortable clothing of your choice that allows you to move freely.

Bring a bottle of water to keep hydrated.

If you use a walker or cane, bring it with you as you will use it in the class.

I use a cane or a walker. Can I still participate?

Absolutely, yes! In fact, we ask that you bring your walking aid with you and the leader will help you adapt movements to safely participate while using it. This way you can learn how to safely incorporate your walking aid into exercise you may do on your own.

I have some health issues. What should I do before joining a class?

It is important to have a discussion with your healthcare provider before starting any new physical activity.  Describe the class to your healthcare provider so that they can advise you.

When you attend the first session you will be asked to complete a questionnaire to help you assess if you have any issues which you may wish to further discuss with your healthcare provider. You can review the questionnaire here.

Getting the Recommended Dose

While a class once a week is a good start, research says that people get the most benefit from working on their balance for 1 hour, 3 times a week. To get additional balance practice here are 2 options:

  1. Do balance and strength exercises at home using the Finding Balance resources available at Resource Catalogue – Finding Balance (findingbalancealberta.ca) in the Movement and Exercise section.
  2. Join Zoomers on the Go classes online. There is no fee to join. Classes are offered several days a week at a variety of times. To sign up (link to poster?)

How can I become a volunteer peer leader?

If you would like to volunteer as a peer leader email Injury.PreventionEdmonton@ahs.ca

Leaders are people who can exercise independently for one hour.

Leaders are asked to commit to leading a class for 11/4 hours per week for approximately 12 weeks.

Leaders are required to complete a 1-day training course.  There will be no cost to you to attend the 1-day training.

Leaders are also required to have a current CPR certification.  If you do not have a current certification, the cost of a CPR course will be reimbursed to you.

What training do leaders receive?

Leaders complete a 1-day course to learn to lead the specific set of balance and strength exercises in NOT Falling for You. It is based on a program called Purposeful Movement for Older Adults offered by Physical Culture Alberta. It is enhanced with exercises from Zoomers on the Go, the falls prevention program studied by the University of New Brunswick for its effectiveness.

Leaders also receive CPR training.

Do I need prior experience leading exercise classes?

No previous experience leading exercise classes is required. All you need is the desire to help your peers reduce their risk of falling.

How can an organization I am associated with become a host organization for NOT Falling for You?

Community organizations that are interested in hosting a NOT Falling for You class can contact the health promotion facilitators at Injury.PreventionEdmonton@ahs.ca. They will work with you to build a program that suits your organization and community.

What kind of community organizations host NOT Falling for You?

Community leagues, seniors’ associations, and churches are the types of organizations that host NOT Falling for You.

Who in Alberta Health Services facilitates the program?

Various geographical zones of AHS have Health Promotion Facilitators who manage the program in their zone.  They are responsible for developing partnerships with organizations to host the program and supporting them thereafter. AHS also helps with peer leader recruitment and coordinates peer leader training sessions.

Have Questions?

The program is based on the latest concepts in older adult exercise. It uses the most current findings from researchers at the University of New Brunswick who are studying the best activity to prevent falls.

  • 10-minutes: Warmup
  • 10 to 15-minutes: Leg and core strength
  • 30-minutes: balance
  • 10-minute Cool down
  • 5-10 minutes: Discussion on a Falls Prevention topic

Classes range in size from 10 to 20 participants. The maximum size of each class is determined by the space available in the venue but will not exceed 20 people.

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