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Fargo VA Health Care System

 

'Stepping On' - a fall prevention class for Veterans

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One in three people over the age of 65 are injured from falls each year, making falls the leading cause of injury in older adults. 'Stepping On' provides Veterans with valuable information focusing on fall prevention.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

'Stepping On' is a fall prevention class that will begin at the Fargo VA Healthcare System on September 6th. This innovative 7-week session will take place once a week in room 3154 at the Fargo VA from 10 am to noon.

“Stepping On is a class for people who have fallen or have a fear of falling, who are still living in their own home, and are able to walk without a walker or cane,” explained Amanda Hoffer, physical therapist at the Fargo VA.

This class will provide valuable information with a focus on prevention of falls.  Participants will receive ankle weights and will get the chance to exercise with a physical therapist.  In addition, guest speakers, to include a pharmacist, vision specialist and a police officer will be part of the program to provide Veterans with valuable information regarding fall prevention.   

Following the 7-week session, a booster class will also be offered to participants.

"The booster class is conducted three months after the initial class. It's a great opportunity to follow up with the participants to see how they are doing, if they have made any changes and if they have any questions," said Hoffer.

If you are interested in signing up or learning more about ‘Stepping On,’ stop by the Physical Therapy department at BA-72 or contact Amanda Hoffer at 701-232-3241, dial 9 then ext 4591 or Liz Laney at ext 3047. 

 

Facts about falls:

Did you know?

  • A fall can be a life-altering event.
  • More than 1 in 3 adults aged 65 and older fall each year.
  • Falls are the leading cause of injury in older adults.
  • In 2008, 4 our of 5 injuries that took place in bathrooms were the result of falls.

People of all ages fall and there are many reasons why.

  • Changes in vision can affect your balance, make you less stable, and increase your chance of falling
  • Side effects of medications can make you drowsy, light-headed or dizzy.  Do not stop any medications without talking with your healthcare provider

Taking care of yourself can lower your chance of falling.

  • Get regular exercise, which can improve muscle tone, flexibility, balance and keep you strong. Choose exercises or activities that develop balance, and coordination.
  • Talk with your primary care provider and team pharmacist about your medications and their side effects on balance and coordination.
  • Stand up slowly after sitting or lying down.
  • Consider using a cane or walker to help you feel steadier
  • Be careful on or avoid uneven, icy, or wet surfaces.
  • Wear shoes that have good support, low heels, and a rubber-sole or thin, non-slip sole. Avoid wearing only socks.
  • Hold onto handrails when going up and down stairs.
  • Limit drinking alcoholic beverages. They can slow your reflexes and change your sense of balance.
  • Don't take chances! Walking on a freshly washed floor or standing on a chair to reach items, for example, can increase your fall risk.

Taking care of your environment, 50% of all falls occur in the home

  • Keep stairs and pathways clean and free from clutter.
  • Remove papers, books, clothes, shoes and other items that could cause you to trip.
  • Tack down telephone wires and electrical cords.
  • Consider installing 'grab bars' next to toilets, showers and tubs.
  • Place non-slip mats in the tub and on the shower floor.
  • Secure area rugs with double sided tape.
  • Put no-slip strips on wood and tile floors.
  • Do away with small throw rugs.
  • Put items used most often where you can reach them without using a stepstool.
  • Keep staircases and entranceways well lit.
  • Securely mount handrails on both sides of all staircases.
  • Improve lighting.  Use nightlights in the bedroom and bathroom.
  • Arrange furniture so that paths are clear when you walk.
  • Avoid rearranging.
  • During summer months, keep your home cool with air conditioning or a fan. Heat can make you dizzy.

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