The York Area Agency on Aging wants to teach people how to take falling matters into their own hands.

The agency is offering "A Matter of Balance" classes that show people how to prevent falls and what to do if they fall.

The free classes are for people age 50 and over, including those who use walking devices, said Melissa Graham, the agency's information specialist.

The first two series of classes are from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesday, from Feb. 24 through March 19; and March 31 to April 23, all at York Township Park Building, 25 Oak St.

The third series of classes is 12:45 to 2:45 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays April 8 to May 1 at Windy Hill on the Campus Senior Center at 1472 Roths Church Road in Spring Grove.

The fourth set of classes will run 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Mondays and Wednesdays April 28 through May 21 at Springettsbury Township Farm House, 1501 Mount Zion Road, according to Graham.

The capacity for each of the classes is 15 students, she said.

The agency has been offering "A Matter of Balance" since 2011. The program is owned by MaineHealth's Partnership for Healthy Aging, of Portland, Maine. The organization also teaches "master trainers" who run the program throughout the United States.

Graham said the York Area Agency on Aging has 13 master trainers, including her.

Target audience: "A Matter of Balance" is for people who have concerns about falling or have restricted their activities because of falling fears, she said. The program will show attendees how to improve their balance, flexibility and strength, as well as how to fall and get back up after falling.

"We look at home surroundings that create a fall risk, look at areas you routinely walk in," Graham said. "There is a (class) on health conditions that can put a person at risk of falling, like medications and (having) poor strength and poor flexibility."

The classes will emphasize the importance of informing family, caregivers and health professionals about fall concerns or experiences.

"We also give (attendees) a home safety check list that highlights problems, like fall risks in the bathroom and with lighting, rugs, extension cords," Graham said.

Providing fall-prevention education became a priority to the agency almost a decade ago when the state's Department of Aging, Department of Health and Department of Public Welfare expressed concerns about fall-related deaths among seniors, Graham said. The York County Coroner's Office also saw a number of deaths related to falls at that time, Graham said.

The goal of running a fall-prevention program was added to the York County Area Agency on Aging's four-year health and wellness plan covering years 2008 to 2012, according to Graham.

—Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at emcmillan@yorkdispatch.com.