NDSU Extension Service - Mercer County

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Stepping on Workshop

Build Confidence and Reduce Risk of Falls

Submitted by Dena Kemmet, Extension Agent/Family and Consumer Sciences

Stepping On is a workshop offered locally by the NDSU Extension Service and Sakakawea Medical Center. The workshop is for two hours, once a week, for seven weeks.

The workshop helps older adults prevent falls. Falls are the leading cause of injury and injury-related deaths among those aged 65 years and older. One-third of older adults in the United States fall each year. The consequences of falls are substantial. They include fractures, head injuries, soft-tissue injuries, loss of mobility, loss of independent living and death. These consequences impose a significant burden on the older adults, their caregivers, communities, and our health care system.

The next session of Stepping On will begin September 12. The location will be the Ambulance Bay located near Sakakawea Medical Center in Hazen. Sessions are scheduled from 4 – 6 p.m. CT. Contact the NDSU Extension Service at 873-5195 to register for the upcoming workshop. The fee for the workshop is $30 (the fee covers the cost of leg weights each participant will keep).

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.  Participants will view a display of falls prevention products. The workshop is both for people who have fallen and for people who fear falling. Participants will leave with more strength, achieve better balance, and experience a feeling of confidence and independence as a result of performing various exercises and sharing personal fall experiences as a group.

Many people have had a fall experience that has shaken their confidence and may have resulted in injury. The threat or fear of a fall can be a barrier to doing the things people enjoy. The prevention of falls is vital to maintaining personal independence.

The Stepping On program allows older adults to determine issues and approaches that are personally relevant. It is designed to challenge the older person to appraise his or her risk realistically and provide a forum for gaining knowledge about safety practices. Participants explore options and barriers to putting safety strategies into practice. The aim of the program is to give participants control, and explore different coping behaviors, and encourage follow-through on safety strategies in everyday life.

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.  The research has found that people who complete the workshop have a 31% reduced rate of falls.

Dena Kemmet, Extension Agent

Family and Consumer Sciences

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