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Testing refines falls risk score to 0.6

Since the Seniors Expo in March 2018 the Balance Mat has been used to measure the balance of over 200 people.

More than 100 seniors had their balance measured at seniors fitness and balance training events run by the Council On The Ageing (COTA) in Canberra (pictured) and Adelaide (see news story of 6 April 2018.

Another 80 people had their balance measured during tai-chi classes run by the ACT Chinese Australian Association. Also in Canberra, 20 Nordic walkers had their balance measured during Nordic walking activities on the banks of Lake Burley Griffin.

Together with the people whose balance was measured at the Seniors Expo in March this brings the total number of recent balance measurements to over 480.

Analysis of the results showed that 90% of these individuals scored less than 0.6. Of the 10% who scored greater than 0.6, most were aware that they had poor balance. For example, in the group of Nordic walkers, occupational therapist Kristen Pratt of Capital Nordic Walking confirmed that the participant with the highest score of 1.36 had a known neurological condition.

This led Balance Mat General Manager Ian Bergman to propose the hypothesis that a score of 0.6 or above on the Balance Mat signals a balance problem and could indicate a heightened falls risk since poor balance is a well-known cause of falls in older people. He plans to test this hypothesis over the coming months.

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