Tips to Stay Upright for Fall Prevention

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Man balancing on fallen log in forest .

Learning how to stay upright for fall prevention is critical as we age. A good program can expand our world by reducing our fear of falling. We gain confidence as we train our muscles to hold us upright and walk with more balance. As a result, we can walk greater distances and even feel confident in crowds.

Last month a reader asked me if my Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance (TJQMBB) will be offered online. This program has proven to be the top program in the country to stay upright for fall prevention. I absolutely love teaching it and watching the results that regular participation brings. My students have reported they were able to stay upright and prevent falls using the techniques that I’ve taught them. Unfortunately, this class is not yet approved to teach online so I am restricted to teaching local classes only.

TJQMBB in Your Area

However, many states have Dept. of Health and/or Dept. of Aging programs that are actively sponsoring TJQMBB teacher training. They’ve recognized the extensive long-range benefits of this program and are actively seeking and paying for people to train as community teachers.

Do an internet search for someone in your area. The Silver Sneakers program usually has classes at YMCAs and pays for their insureds/members. If you don’t find anyone teaching TJQMBB near you, try writing to the founder, Dr. Fuzong Li through the Oregon Research Institute. Ask if he can connect you with a teacher in your area because the Program Adaptors page on his website is not up to date. For information about the program itself, click here.

If you come up with a blank, there are other program options to consider to help you stay upright and prevent falls. Each has a different focus so you’ll want to research them to see which fits your needs.  Scroll down for a list of the top-performing balance and fall prevention programs in the country by cost-benefit analysis and other ideas. Look for these in your area.

Simple Tips to Stay Upright for Fall Prevention

Meanwhile, for a little taste of simple adjustments that everyone can do to stay upright for fall prevention, I’ve created this short video for you with two tips. 

Cost-Benefit Analysis of Other Programs

  • CDC Study Released February 2015
  • Cost Benefit Analysis 3 fall prevention interventions
    • Feasibility, Effectiveness determined by Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs)
    • Net Benefit and Return on Investment (ROI) calculated from average annual benefit from averting the medical cost of fall
  Net Benefit ROI Fall Reduction
TJQMBB $529.86 509% for each dollar invested 55%-6 months
OTAGO age 80+ $429.18 127% 35%-12 months
Stepping On $134.37 64% 30% – 6 months
OTAGO age 65+ $121.85 36%  

For Veterans

Another thing to look for if you are a veteran: There is initiative to get Tai Chi in all VA facilities. Even though traditional Tai Chi is not specific for fall prevention, it has many health benefits, including balance. You can learn about which facilities offer this here.

By an act of Congress the Veterans Administration and US Government have to pay for Veterans to access Tai Chi and other health services outside VA facilities. The VA Community Care Network (VACCN) was authorized by congress in the 2018 VA Mission Act. This is being implemented by a contract with UnitedHealth Group through a subsidiary called Optum. You may try exploring these sites: Download VACCN info here, and check opportunities here.

In Conclusion

I hope this gives you some ideas of where to look for balance and fall prevention classes. For right now, stay mindful of how you walk and follow my walking tips in the short video above. For locals, TJQMBB classes will resume in the Spring.  

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