Moving For Better Balance

What is Moving For Better Balance?

Moving For Better Balance is a 12-week evidence-based falls prevention program recognized by the CDC, National Council on Aging (NCOAO), U.S. Administration on Aging, (AoA) and various state Falls Prevention Coalitions and  Department of Health and Human Services. The principles and movements of Tai Chi are used to help older adults increase their strength, improve their balance, and increase their confidence in doing everyday activities. The program protocol consists of a core 8-form routine and a subroutine of eight integrated therapeutic movements forms that have been derived from the traditional 24-form Yang-style of Tai Chi, progressing from easy to more difficult which collectively involve a set of simple, rhythmic Tai Chi-based actions.
Led by a Moving for Better Balance trained instructor, this program focuses on improving mental cognitive and physical functional ability especially balance to reduce fall-related risks and fall frequency.

An instruction book is provided with lesson plans, tips on creating a safer home environment to prevent falls, and homework based on each week’s classwork.

How Does Moving for Better Balance Reduce Falls?

Moving For Better Balance fall prevention program is an evidence-based program recommended by CDC for community fall prevention programming. Evidence from rigorous scientific studies has clearly demonstrated that Moving For Better Balance is effective in improving balance. Moving For Better Balance challenges limitations in balance and gait and addresses these limitations through a set of controlled, progressively designed exercises. Our ability to engage, retain, and relate to participants has fostered outstanding results and improved not only improved balance reducing the frequency of falls among older adults.
The program also provides other health benefits that contribute to healthy aging in a safe structured environment that engages older adults in a social setting they may not have had previously.

Moving For Better Balance may also help alleviate the symptoms associated with other chronic diseases and conditions. Classes are designed to provide participants with opportunities to interact with one another which creates an important support system, a stronger community, and supports the participants overall health goals and well-being.

Program Goals and Health Benefits of Participating in Tai chi: Moving for Better Balance

  • Improved social and mental well-being
  • Improved balance and physical performance
  • Improved confidence in conducting daily activities
  • Reduced risk of falling and sustaining fall injuries
  • Improved overall health
  • Maintained independence and improved quality of life
  • A decrease in blood pressure
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Improved cardiovascular and respiratory function

How it works:

Moving for Better Balance is designed primarily for community-living older adults who are age 60 or older and are physically mobile with or without assistance.

Program details:

Moving for Better Balance is conducted in a small group setting of 10-15 adults providing a safe and comfortable environment. Sessions take place twice a week for 60 minutes, and continue for 12 weeks supplemented by a 30-minute weekly at-home practice by each program participant.

Registration and Timing

Contact your closest YMCA for a brief pre-screening. From there, interested and qualified participants will be added to the queue/waitlist. Days and times vary for each YMCA location.

  • Must be willing to engage in a 12-week falls prevention program
  • Consult your primary care physician before joining the program for medical clearance. (see medical clearance form at the bottom of the page)
  • Program is recommended for anyone who is at risk for falls
  • Strong personal desire and commitment to participate in the program (Highly recommended to attend a minimum of 80% of classes).
  • Give permission for a Moving For Better Balance representative to contact your physician or health care provider if necessary.

Making an Impact

As I approached age 60 my once athletic body seemed to be falling apart and full of pain and immobility. I was beginning to trip and fall becoming increasingly leery of engaging in the physical activity I once enjoyed. I gave up hope that I would ever be pain free, and again have the active life I had once led and accepted this must be what aging looks like.

"After learning about this new program, it the first time in years I had hope. In addition to the physical benefits of this class, the instructor’s knowledge and experience gave me a better understand what my body needs to be healthy, falls free and maintain mobility. Now I am playing golf, gardening, and hiking, pain free, and feel stronger and healthier than I have in ten years.  I cannot say enough good things about this class. The Moving for Better Balance program has literally been a quality of life saver.”

“Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance has saved my life. Before this program, I was becoming increasingly afraid of falling as by body became more unsteady. The program has increased my confidence in walking in and around my home and community and I am now fall free!”
– Moving for Better Balance Alumni and new members of the YMCA of WNC.

If you are interested and would like more information please click on the Request More Information button below to request more information. If you are interested please click the Download Interest Form button below to print and fill out the interest form. This form can then be mailed, faxed, or scanned and emailed to the YMCA of Western North Carolina. 

To find out more information regarding this program, criteria for participating and how to register, contact our Population Health team at 828 210 5040. You may fax the interest form to 828 559 2151.


Falls Facts

Don’t Be a Statistic:  Reducing your Risk of Falls and Fall Injuries
National Falls statistics:

  • Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries among adults aged 65 and over .
  • One out of three adults 65 and older fall each year with many repeating a fall within 6 months.
  • In 2012, 2.4 million nonfatal falls among older adults were treated in emergency departments and more than 722,000 of these patients were hospitalized.
  • In 2012, the direct medical costs of falls, adjusted for inflation, were $30 billion.
  • Twenty to thirty percent of people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries such as lacerations, hip fractures, and head traumas increasing the risk of independence and early death.
  • Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in older adults with 46% of fatal falls in this population due to TBI in 2000.
  • Most fractures among older adults are caused by falls.
  • Many people who fall, even if not injured, develop a fear of falling causing them to limit their activities which leads to reduced mobility and loss of physical fitness, and in turn increases their actual risk of falling.

Fall Injuries

  • People age 75 and older who fall are four to five times more likely than those age 65 to 74 to be admitted to a long-term care facility for a year or longer.
  • Over 95% of hip fractures are caused by falls and in 2010, there were 258,000 hip fractures and the rate for women was almost twice the rate for men.

North Carolina Falls Statistics:

  • Falls are the number 1 cause of injury death for individuals 65 and older.
  • On an average injury day in N.C., there are 2 fall deaths, 69 hospitalizations and 531 ED visits.
  • In 2011, there were 25,141 hospitalizations and 193,805 ed visits due to falls. Because data are not available on how many falls are seen in outpatient settings or receive no medical attention the total burden of injury to the state is unknown.
  • The rate of unintentional fall deaths per 100,000 residents has increased by 65% since 2000 and by 2030, it is projected that 54 counties in N.C. will have a population in which more than 20% of the residents are 65 years and older compared to 17 counties in 2010.
  • This increase in the older adult population in N.C. will likely result in a drastic rise in deaths, hospitalizations, and ED visits due to intentional falls leading to a strain on the medical system as a whole.

North Carolina ED costs related to falls:

  • 2009: $491,971,188.64
  • 2010: $555,049,871.79
  • 2011: $562,279,070.80
  • North Carolina’s 65 and older population will almost double in the next 20 years, from 1.3 to 2.3 million and by 2025, one in four North Carolinians will be 60 years of age and older. 
  • Over the next two decades, the 75-84 age group will be the fastest growing of those ages 65 and older and the number of adults age 85 and older will grow the fastest beginning in 2030 when the oldest of the 2.4 million baby boomers living in North Carolina reach their 85th birthday.

 % of population 65 and over:

o   2012:    11% to 20%  Buncombe, Madison and McDowell counties, 21% to 30% in Henderson county

o   2025:    21% to 30% Buncombe, Henderson, Madison and McDowell counties


Leading Cause of injury death: 

o   Buncombe County:  51.7% Henderson County: 56% Madsion County 45.5%. 41.3%


Leading Cause of Injury Hospitalization:

o   Buncombe County:  71.6% Henderson County:  35%  Madsion County 49.3% 73.5%

Buncombe County:  70.6% Henderson County: 66.9% Madsion County 49.6% 61.3%


  • The odds of falling are 1-4 times greater in older adults with mental risk issues leading to skyrocketing health care costs
  • Alcohol and substance abuse in older adults increases the risk of falls by a factor of 4.
To find out more information regarding this program, criteria for participating and how to register, contact Lindsey Thompson at [email protected] or 828 559 2401.


Falls Prevention Risk Assessment



  • The Center for Chronic Disease and Prevention and Health Promotion: The State of Aging & Health in America 2013.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • 3,4,5:  North Carolina Dept. of Health and Human Services,
  • Keynote speech:  Dr. Stephen Bartels, MD, MS Director of Dartmouth Centers for Health and Aging
  • NC’s Aging Population and Impact to Behavioral Health: Dennis Streets, Director, Chatham County Council on Aging
  • What’s New and on the Horizon for Mental Health, Substance Use and Aging Services in NC:  Dr. Trish Hussey, Dr. Mary Lynn Piven, PhD
  • NC State Data Center, America Community Survey 2007-2011
  • Carolina Hospital Charges for Fall Injuries ages 65+: 2009-2011
  • NC Division of Public Health’s Injury and Violence Prevention Branch:

Moving For Better Balance

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