Wisconsin ranks No. 1 in the nation for the number of falls for people age 65 and older, and a local agency aims to do something about it.
The Aging and Disability Resource Center is sponsoring Stepping On, a program that has proven to reduce falls and build confidence for older adults.
Physical therapists, pharmacists, vision experts and community specialists will be presenting at a series of workshops beginning in September designed to show people how to keep from falling at home and in the community.
Nancy Krueger, the agency’s health and wellness coordinator, said most people think it will never happen to them. However, people are at risk if they have poor vision, if they are not managing their medications correctly, if they are inactive, if they stand on chairs instead of stepladders and if they always are in a hurry.
“For most people, it’s a pride issue,” she said. “No one thinks it is going to happen to them until it happens. We all have the ability to prevent it.”
Krueger said people who take the seven-week Stepping On workshop will reduce their chances of falling by one-half. The Wisconsin Institute for Healthy Aging reports that participants of workshops held between 2008 and 2013 experienced a 50 percent reduction in falls in the first six months after the program compared to six months before.
Physical therapists teach simple, fun strength and balance exercises, vision experts instruct on the role vision plays in keeping your balance and pharmacists explain how medications can contribute to falls. Participants will learn ways to stay safe in the community, what to look for in safe footwear and how to check their home for safety hazards.
Sue Coyle, a co-leader of Stepping On, is an occupational therapy assistant with Coyle Care Management, a geriatric care management business. She sees the consequences of falls first-hand, including decreased mobility and injuries, such as a broken arm or hip. She also observes that falls have a tendency to decrease socialization and the ability to get out and be mobile.
“That’s where a program like this is so important and integral to educating people on how to prevent falls,” she said.” “I like people to be proactive to prevent falls and injuries rather than reactive, after something happens. The intent is that it becomes their life pattern.”
Coyle finds it rewarding to see the progress participants make during the workshops.
“People feel more confident and empowered in their mobility,” she said. “I always like to see that development over the course of seven weeks.”
To register for Stepping On, contact Nancy Krueger at 920-740-9572 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stepping On workshops:
Tuesdays: Sept. 11- Oct. 23
Location: Neuroscience Group, 1305 W. American Drive, Neenah
Time: 9-11 a.m.
Thursdays: Sept. 13-Oct. 25
Location: Kimberly Senior Center, 515 W. Kimberly Ave.,
Time: 9-11 a.m.
Tuesdays: Oct. 2- Nov. 13
Location: Ridgeview Highland, 640 Ridgeview Circle, Appleton
Time: 1-3 p.m.
Mondays: Oct. 8-Nov. 19
Location: Thompson Center on Lourdes, 2331 E. Lourdes,
Time: 1-3 p.m.
To register: contact Nancy Krueger