By Kevin Jimenez

In an effort to improve the lives of seniors in the Sylmar community, a class offered at El Cariso Park helps the elderly to avoid injuries due to accidental falls. This is an important class for the health of the seniors, where many who attend the class have become close friends.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2.8 million elderly people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries each year, and one out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or head injury. This is an alarming statistic that shows the importance of classes like the one held at El Cariso Park.

The class has been offered for about two years and has helped many participants both physically and mentally. Although the class targets the elderly, it is open to anyone age 55 and older, and is held every Tuesday and Thursday from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Those enrolled in the class participate in strengthening and coordination exercises to improve balance, as well as learn how to prevent falls.

The instructor for the course, Liana Fujita-Ahmed, is a FallProof Certified Specialist and knows the benefits this course provide to older adults.

“This particular course is very important because it helps older individuals improve their quality-of-life by building their confidence and maintaining good balance when they’re doing activities, and it helps ensure they are able to remain independent.” Said Fujita-Ahmed.

The seniors in the class have high praise for this course, and have first-hand experience of how it can help to protect them from injury.

“This class has literally saved my life several times from falling when I’m doing my gardening,” said Irvette Smith. “It has taught me how when I do lose my balance, how to regain it again, and just being aware of where my feet are and feeling my both feet on the ground has been such an important lesson to me. I’ve also learned how to turn my head, then my body, to keep from getting dizzy. It’s been a marvelous class, and I would recommend it to anyone of any age, but especially for seniors.”