February 11, 2019

Lessons Learned to Remain Independent

David and Martha of Pembroke are quite familiar with Concord Regional VNA community programs. After all, they have participated in three of the four nationally-recognized programs currently offered.

“We have a continuing desire to learn,” said David. “Just because you are older doesn’t mean you stop learning.”

In 2012, Concord Regional VNA began offering “A Matter of Balance” due to the prevalence of falls and the dramatic lifestyle changes community members make due to falls. This eight-week program focuses on decreasing the fear of falling and increasing activity in everyday life to help people remain independent for as long as possible.

“I use principles we learned from ‘A Matter of Balance’ every day,” David said. “It becomes a part of your routine.” 

“A Matter of Balance” is tailored to participants who have various levels of physical independence. Throughout the program, exercise is gradually increased to improve strength, balance, coordination, endurance, and flexibility. Facilitators and participants discuss what can be done to reduce the risk of falling, modify behaviors, and improve physical environment. 

“While there is structure, the conversations flow to where the group needs it to go,” David said. “Individuals ask questions that directly affect their lives. They receive instructions from the presenters who guide you to get answers that best suit your needs.”

Better Choices, Better Health™
Weeks after “A Matter of Balance” began being offered, Concord Regional VNA introduced Better Choices, Better Health™, a six-week program that helps participants learn new skills to better self-manage their chronic illness. Chronic illnesses includes but is not limited to back pain, asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure. The program helps adults feel better, regain control of their health, and start doing the things they want to do. 

“For adults living with a chronic condition, this program provides education and practice with setting realistic goals and problem solving, said Jennifer Brechtel, CHES, Community Benefit Manager. “When participants begin to have success with achieving small goals, there is an increased sense of confidence and momentum which is rewarding to see.” 

“Every day you pick up (learn) something helps you remain self-sufficient,” David added. 

Aging Mastery Program®
Two years ago, Concord Regional VNA started offering the Aging Mastery Program®, a 10-week program that empowers participants to embrace their longevity and address physical, financial, and emotional wellness. A host of community guest speakers talk about topics such as exercise, sleep, healthy eating, finances, medications, and advance planning.

“We had the materials, Jen got the group going, and moved us from topic to topic,” David said. “The quality of guest speakers was exceptional. One taught you how to get up from a fall, a speaker talked about the importance of exercise, and another speaker spoke about end-of-life preparations.” Due to their experience, David and Martha chose a funeral director, made end of life arrangements, and met with a financial planner. 

“These people will help you,” David said. “We listened. It’s a tremendous relief to have it (advance planning) done.” “It is one less thing to worry about,” Martha added.

For more information about any of our community health education programs, call (603) 224-4093.

A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns about Falls/ Volunteer Lay Leader Model ©2006. This program is based on “Fear of Falling: A Matter of Balance” Copyright © 1995 Trustees of Boston University. All rights reserved. Used and adapted by permission of Boston University.