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Published on September 04, 2013

Douglas County Partnership Works to Reduce Falls in Older Adults

                        "You would think by now I'd know how to walk, but at 60 years old I find myself walking into walls or tripping over my own feet way too often. One of these days I'm going to fall and break something!" Does this sound familiar? It's true, as we age our reflexes slow a person's reaction time and makes it harder to regain one's balance following a sudden movement or shift of body weight. Among older adults (those 65 or older), falls are the leading cause of injury death. They are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.

            Stepping On, a workshop offered in Lawrence by a partnership between Lawrence Memorial Hospital, the Lawrence Douglas County Housing Authority, and Douglas County Senior Services, Inc. is a community-based workshop offered once a week for seven weeks where participants learn balance and strength exercises as well as develop specific knowledge and skills to prevent falls. 

                Stepping On will help participants identify why they fall and different ways to prevent falls, including strength and balance exercises, home safety check suggestions and a medication review.  The workshop is designed for people who are living at home and who have fallen or are fearful of falling. Participants must be able to walk by themselves or with a walking stick.  Classes are highly participative; mutual support and success build the participants’ confidence in their ability to manage their health behaviors to reduce the risk of falls and to maintain active and fulfilling lives.

                The program was developed by Dr. Lindy Clemson of Sydney, Australia, to help older adults learn ways to prevent falls.  It was brought to the United States by Dr. Jane Mahoney, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Institute for Healthy Aging, with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and other partners.  Research published in the September 2004 issue of the Journal of American Geriatrics Society found that participants completing Stepping On experienced a 31% reduction in falls.

                If you think this workshop would benefit you, join us each Wednesday, October 9 through November 20, from 1– 3 p.m. at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.  There is a registration fee of $25.  Contact LMH Connect Care at 785-749-5800 to register or for more information about the program.  

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