Sun Health Helping People Maintain Independence With Biodex Balance System

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Computerized system, donated by two Sun Health Foundation supporters, enables health professionals to test people's fall risks and stability and identify weaknesses, which can be addressed through exercises.

Norma Stalnaker balances on the Biodex Balance System under the watchful eyes of exercise physiologist Rhonda Zonoozi.

The Biodex tests people’s stability and gives us an accurate view of their overall balance. From there, we can work on improving their stability...

The Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing recently acquired a high-tech Biodex Balance System™ SD that can test a person’s balance and train them to improve it. The system was made possible through a donation to Sun Health Foundation from Allan and Mary Campbell, residents of The Colonnade, a Sun Health senior living Life Care community.

While slapstick routines involving falls often get laughs on the stage and screen, they are no laughing matter for older adults. Twenty to 30 percent of falls in adults 65 and older cause moderate to severe injuries, lack of independence or even death. One-third of adults 65 and older fall each year, and falls are among the leading causes of injury-related hospitalizations for older adults. In 2011, more than 22,000 older adults died from unintentional fall injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Rhonda Zonoozi, exercise physiologist and certified health and wellness coach at the Center, said the new Biodex Balance System is a great asset for helping evaluate clients’ balance and fall risks and pinpointing areas that need work to help them improve their balance, agility and strength.

“Poor balance and decreased lower body strength can increase the risk of falling,” she said. “The Biodex tests people’s stability and gives us an accurate view of their overall balance. From there, we can work on improving their stability and train them how to shift their weight to prevent falls.”

Cost for the Biodex system is approximately $13,500.

Allan, 85, and Mary Campbell, 91, both have balance issues and the system has helped them get a better handle on their equilibrium. They’ve learned exercises to strengthen their muscles, improve flexibility and increase tone; all which help them stay upright.

“We don’t consider ourselves as benefactors or donors,” Allan said of the gift. “We see ourselves as investors who want a return on our investment and that return is quality of life. Preventing falls and improving balance for all who need help in this area is about improving people’s quality of life.”

Two of Sun Health’s senior living Life Care communities, Grandview Terrace and The Colonnade, also own a Biodex system. The communities’ fitness coordinators use them to test residents’ balance and agility and to recommend exercises that promote balance. Allan and Mary have used the Biodex at Grandview as well as at the Center for Health & Wellbeing.

Balance Programs Offered

Beginning in May, Zonoozi will begin offering one-on-one and group balance programs at the Center for Health & Wellbeing in Surprise. Descriptions of the programs follow.

Balance Assessment and Training Program – available in May
This six-week, one-on-one balance training program consists of a comprehensive fall-risk assessment and 30-minute training sessions twice a week for four weeks using the Biodex Balance System. Fall-prevention information, home exercises and a post-program assessment are included. Participants must be able to stand independently to take the program.

Balance, Leg and Core Strength Training Program – beginning May 8
This program includes balance, lower body strength, core strength and flexibility training in a group setting. The eight-week class will meet from 3 to 4 p.m., on Fridays beginning May 8. Pre- and post-assessments using the Biodex Balance System will be given one week prior to the program’s start and one week after its completion. A home exercise program is included. For safety precautions, participants need to be able to walk around the block without the use of a cane or walker and not have had a lower-extremity injury or surgery in the past six months. Participants also must be able to stand independently, get up and down from the floor without assistance and tolerate activity without dizziness, chest pain or lightheadedness.

To learn more or sign up for these programs, call (623) 832-WELL (9355).

About Sun Health
A long-standing champion for healthy living, nonprofit Sun Health is a community-based health care organization providing “pathways to population health” through philanthropy, senior living, community wellness and superior health care. Learn more at http://www.SunHealth.org

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John Tucker
Sun Health
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Ken Reinstein
Sun Health
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