Moving for Better Balance

Every year in Oklahoma, approximately 7,000 older adults are hospitalized and more than 350 die from a fall. Tai Chi Quan is designed to reduce older adults’ risk of falling, and classes resume January 5.

By: Melissa Struttmann | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: January 2015

Tai Chi classes resume Monday, January 5; no prior sign-ups are required to attend.

Tai Chi classes resume Monday, January 5; no prior sign-ups are required to attend.

According to a report by the Injury Prevention Service – Oklahoma State Department of Health, most fall injuries happen in predictable, preventable ways. Most falls happen in homes and are entirely preventable. Simple changes such as lighting, furniture arrangement and housekeeping can make older adults less susceptible to falling in their homes.

Health conditions, such as hip or bone weakness, arthritis and blood pressure fluctuation can cause older adults to be more prone to falls. Those suffering from neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or Alzheimer’s disease are also at an increased risk for falling.

Creek County Literacy Program, in conjunction with the Creek County Health Department, is pleased to announce upcoming class dates for the 12-week program designed to reduce older adults’ risk of falling. Tai Chi Quan: Moving for Better Balance resumes Monday, January 5 at 10 am at the Library Annex, 15 N. Poplar St. in Sapulpa. The first one-hour class kicks off with a discussion on Tai Chi, including a question and answer session.

This free program is geared towards adults 65 years of age and older. “It is encouraged for anyone over 45 years of age,” shares Tai Chi Instructor Gina Wozencraft, of the Creek County Health Department.

“The purpose of the program is to improve one’s balance and reduce the likelihood of falling. Studies have shown Tai Chi improves muscular strength, balance, postural control, and reduces the older adults’ risk of falling by 47 to 55 percent, as well as reducing the risk of falls by Parkinson’s disease patients by 67 percent. The eight forms in this program are all derived from the traditional, well-known 24-form Yang style Tai Chi, which has been tailored to older adults wishing to improve balance and mobility,” she explained.

Research evidence shows falls are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries in every age group except ages 15 to 24 and are the leading cause of injury death among adults 65 years and older in the United Sates. 

Many people who fall, even if they are not injured, develop a fear of falling. This fear may cause them to limit their activities, leading to reduced mobility and loss of physical fitness, which in turn increases their actual risk of falling.

“In the four years I’ve been teaching, I always enjoy watching participants grow, flourish and gain confidence,” says Wozencraft. “It is absolutely priceless when participants are eager to share with me and others the difference they see how this program has helped them personally, whether it’s with their stamina, balance, coordination, and how it’s improving their daily lives. We have fun, we laugh, and I love when they return to sign up for another full session. I teach as many as six locations, and though the class is geared for a 65 year old, I have participants ranging from 60 to over 80 years. They’re so active and enjoy what this Tai Chi program brings them. I can’t thank the Literacy office enough for hosting these classes. It’s an ideal location. Most of my classes have 10 to 12 participants, but CCLP’s class size is 20 to 25. I have seen many friendships form here, and have seen participants connect with other activities such as tutoring! I love it!”

Tai Chi Quan: Moving for Better Balance is a health literacy outreach project of Creek County Literacy Program, the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, with funding provided by the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. No prior sign-ups are required to attend class. 

For more information, contact

Creek County Literacy Program

15 N. Poplar St.
Sapulpa, OK 74066
(918) 224-9647 

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