Last week several VPAS employees and one intern attended the leadership training for SAIL which stands for Stay Active & Independent for Life. This exercise program is actually a fall prevention program, but it is not billed as such since seniors sometimes tend to avoid “fall prevention programs” (I’m not old, I don’t fall).

The premise behind the program is that muscle weakness is the number one reason older adults do fall, and if their muscles can be strengthened through strengthening exercises and balance practice and then cardio is added as well, that the end result is fewer falls.

SAIL is an evidence based intervention coming out of Washington state which includes the fitness class designed especially for older adults(best results seen if done three times a week for one hour at a time), as well as educational materials and self-assessments.

The Program Director at Staunton Senior Center is contemplating how the program may be incorporated into the Center’s existing activities. She is slowly introducing the use of cuff weights that were given out as part of the grant through Rockingham Memorial Hospital which hosted the training. Her intent is to gradually introduce the equipment and ideas behind the program so that members will be receptive to a “revamping” of the SSC exercise program to include SAIL. So far the reaction from members has been positive.

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