NDSU Extension Service - Sargent County

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Living Independently and Hoping to Keep it That Way

Living Independently and Hoping to Keep it That Way 07/15/16Most older people who live independently in their own home consider themselves very fortunate to be able to do so.  My mom and dad, both in their eighties, sure do! 

Living independently is not to be taken for granted.  It can change so quickly.  In fact, about half of all seniors who sustain a fall do not resume independent living.  Falls are the number one reason why people lose their ability to live independently, and a high percentage of people admitted to ND nursing homes have fallen in the 30 days prior to their admission. 

In North Dakota, falls have been the third leading cause of death, and the leading cause of injury among elderly persons, with hip and bone fractures being the leading cause of fall-related disability. 

Even just the “fear of falling” can cause problems, too.  This is because people who fear they might fall often limit their physical activity.  Because of their limited physical activity, they can experience loss of muscle tone, strength, balance, and independence.

“Better safe than sorry” is a popular adage, as is the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Fortunately, there are lots of strategies to prevent falling.  Those strategies, and more, are included in the falls prevention classes that Joyce Chapin, RN at Sargent County District Health, and I are offering to start later this month.  Several local health care and community professionals have already agreed to be guest speakers during the classes.  The classes are part of a program called “Stepping On.”  It has become popular in several ND communities, and has been proven to reduce falls by 31%. 

For more information about the falls prevention classes, or to sign up to participate in them, please contact me at the Sargent County Extension Office.  Just mention “Stepping On.”   

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/en/grandma-reading-grandmother-senior-736004/  (downloaded 07/21/22)

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