Decatur program helps seniors avoid falling - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Decatur program helps seniors avoid falling

(Source: WAFF) (Source: WAFF)

Seniors start losing body mass and strength as they age. The Centers for Disease Control reports about that one-third of adults age 65 and older fall each year.

Seniors is the ABS program in Decatur focus on three areas: agility, balance and strength. ABS Volunteer Director Suzanne Thornhill said it was really so seniors would have an opportunity to keep moving and reduce their risk of falls.

One of its participants, 90-year-old Doris Sundback, said falling is a big concern, especially because she has to use the stairs in her split-level house.

“it's always a worry, especially when I'm there alone," she said.

Another participant, Randolph Pickell, knows how falls can damage your body. He had a partial shoulder replacement after breaking the ball off of his left shoulder.

Thornhill said it’s been proven that probably a third of all seniors over 65 years old fall each year.

“That's the number one reason seniors end up in the emergency room. And that is also one of the main reasons that people die from injury-related illnesses,” she said.

Thornhill said the program can help anyone at just about any level.

"One of the things we need people to know is that you can come to our classes if you are on a walker or in a wheelchair or if you are an agile, active senior,” she said.

And in many cases, the results have been remarkable.

"So we've learned that if we move more, we can establish new neuropathways," said Thornhill.

ABS is offered through First Presbyterian Church in Decatur. Thornhill described it as an outreach program for seniors.

She said it’s free but they accept donations.

These classes are not only helping these participants physically, but they’re also a big help emotionally. Participants are making new friends, and many of those friends are about their ages.

"I have met a number of people I would never have met otherwise. And they're all just most delightful people," Pickell said.

Pickell has some advice for other seniors who spend a lot of time in their easy chair.

"What you don't use, you are going to lose," he said.

Click here to learn more about the program.

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