Shared vision When Nymbl first met with Czajka Care staff to discuss the issue of balance in the elderly community it was clear that Nymbl’s mission aligned with their own falls prevention concerns. They were immediately attracted by the Nymbl Balance Index – a quantifiable measure that indicates falls risk and that can be tracked and monitored – and the prospect of improving the balance of those in their care. Many of the staff enjoyed finding out their own balance level too, trying out the Nymbl balance software for themselves!
Benchmarking balance A one-month introductory balance training programme started at Brookfield Care Home in August. A presentation explaining the science behind Nymbl’s “double-tasking” approach was followed by evaluating the residents’ Balance, giving baseline Balance Indexes to tailor the training appropriately and from which to measure outcomes. Participating residents ranged from age 55 to 101.
Training in action Four weeks of fun group balance classes followed, with the collaboration of our Nymbl team and Brookfield’s activities manager, Julie. Classes started with an engaging warm-up to get everyone’s body moving to some Sixties classic tunes, followed by five exercises on the Nymbl training app. Isometric exercises such as the tandem stand, wall sit and one-leg stand were accompanied with simultaneous cognitive exercises with the participants shouting out the answers to trivia, memory and maths games.
Moving the needle After a month of hard physical and cognitive work, we evaluated the Brookfield Care Home residents’ Balance Indexes for a second time to look for improvements in balance thanks to the training classes. Every participant who completed the post-training evaluation increased their Balance Index! Improvements ranged from 4% to 24% increase in Balance Index, with the largest increases for those who attended the most training classes.
“I know that my balance has improved after Nymbl training!” Residents were extremely proud of their own progress and gave us some excellent feedback, one resident commented that “I know that my balance has improved after Nymbl training!” Different aspects of the training classes were most appealing to the residents, one participants of our introductory programme said she “learned new trivia knowledge and enjoyed being in a group class”, while another participant “just wanted to improve my balance initially, but found myself really interested in the science behind Nymbl and the dual-tasking approach too.”
Goal achieved All the residents told us how important it was for them to have an aim to improve balance as they aged in order to continue to lead an independent life. This is a goal that they definitely have in common with activities manager Julie who was delighted with the improvements that she had observed in the residents and very proud of their Balance Index increases.
We would like to thank everyone at Brookfield Care Home and the Czajka management staff for being so enthusiastic in implementing our Nymbl introductory balance training programme into their daily activities. A tremendous congratulations and well done to the residents who attended the Nymbl training classes for their hard work in improving their balance.
The foundation of Nymbl Science is years of clinical research into the science of balance by Dr. JP Farcy, or Scientific Co-Founder. He determined that balance can be improved through physical exercises (such as one legged stands) as well as cognitive exercises (such as solving math problems or learning new language). But when you combine the two simultaneously, called “dual-tasking“, you get an accelerated effect.
This is because doing two things at once stimulates the brain to actually rebuild synapses in the brain. In order to maintain the posture, and concentrate on answering questions, requires opening as many synapses as possible to cope with the extra work. This is a well-known process called “neuro-plasticity”.
You can see examples of this in daily life. Often, if an older adult is walking and you ask them a question, they will stop. The brain has trouble walking and problem solving at the same time, because many of the balance and stride neurons have gotten “lazy” – the cognitive bandwidth has declined. After a few weeks of balance training, there is often a significant improvement.
In the Nymbl Training and Nymbl Class Apps, we accomplish dual tasking by providing physical exercises with mental challenges on the iPhone’s screen. In fact, because the app can simultaneously recommend isometric & cognitive exercises, time them, AND measure how well you’re doing (using the built in accelerometer), we are able to bring advance clinical tools and techniques to anyone with a smartphone – which pretty soon will literally be everyone!
If you would like to explore implementing a fall prevention program in your community, please contact us using the form below.
At its recent Innovation Conference in San Francisco, Nymbl Science was awarded one of the “50+ Innovation Leaders” by the AARP in collaboration with MedCity News. We are honored to have received such a competitive award and reinforces our dedication to helping seniors live healthier, more “balanced” lives.
Jim Cook, CEO, was the award recipient. He commented, “We are honored to have received this award from the AARP. It’s a tribute to over 2 years of work to bring balance science to millions at a low cost through mobile technology. We are just at the beginning of our journey and very excited about how we can improve senior’s lives through our development efforts”.
The Academy Senior Living Community in Boulder, Colorado, prides itself on its community and the active life style of its residents. So when Nymbl approached them to pilot an innovative program to essentially turn the Academy into a living lab for balance improvement, they said “lets do it!”.
This is the time of year for resolutions, and we’d like to suggest that you do something with long term positive impact for your brain and wellness – resolve to improve your balance! It takes only a few minutes per day, and your balance will increase significantly. Here are some simple suggestions: Continue reading “New Year’s Resolution – Improve your balance!”