Balance: Safely Within My Reach, Part One

For active seniors, a fall can be a serious setback. Knowledge and precaution are the keys to prevention, and Shell Point’s assisted living residents recently benefited from an educational and interactive demonstration on balance with physical therapist Beverly Patten and occupational therapist Michelle LaForme. Both work for Avidity Home Health, and have a combined 20 years of experience working with Shell Point residents.


Here are a few key concepts from the presentation, titled “Safely Within My Reach,” that offered valuable insights on balance.

  •  A solid understanding of center of gravity and base of support are important to improving balance. Center of gravity is the central point of your weight, usually located above the hips near the small of the back. Your base of support is the area between all points of contact with the floor.
  •  Balance is achieved by keeping your center of gravity over your base of support. When someone says, “I lost my balance,” it often means that they shifted their hips (center of gravity) outside their stance (base of support).
  •  Stretching for an out-of-reach item is a frequent offender when it comes to losing balance; but with practice, it is possible to keep from taking a tumble. Techniques include taking a step sideways or reaching for support. Plus, reflexive hip and ankle movements can help, and the muscles needed for this can be strengthened with exercise.

The information above was reproduced with permission from Avidity Home Health.