Falls prevention class in St. Peter brings balance to seniors' lives
Millions of seniors fall each year. Often they suffer trauma and life changing injuries that can impact them the rest of their lives.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls cause more than 95 percent of hip fractures and are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries. Minnesota has one of the highest mortality rates related to senior falls in the nation and improving balance has proven to be an effective form of prevention.
An effort to support pre- and post-orthopedic surgical patients and older adults at risk for falling is getting an extra boost from the SHIP grantee Healthy Together, a partnership of Brown, Nicollet, Le Sueur and Waseca counties.
Healthy Together is working with Live Well Fitness Center at Rivers Edge Hospital and Clinic in St. Peter to start a "Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance" program and to provide equipment for a group exercise program.
Research has shown that people who complete the program are less likely to fall and are less fearful of falling.
The program is open to any community member who wants to improve their health, balance and mobility, has a medical need and can benefit from exercise.
Participants can get a referral from their physician describing the types of exercise they should or should not do. Cardiac rehabilitation and physical therapy patients can also be referred as part of their continuing care.
Senior falls, related injuries and death can be prevented with improved balance
Many older adults fear falling so much that it causes them to limit their activities. Up to 50 percent of Americans over the age of 65 who live independently fear falls. When older adults limit their activity because of that fear, it can reduce their mobility and independence.
"We all want to live independently in our own homes," said Sandy Renor, a registered nurse with Nicollet County. "I see the results of serious falls for seniors and how those falls can jeopardize their ability to live at home"
With the support of Healthy Together, we’ll be able to make a positive difference for older adults in St. Peter and the surrounding community. - Nicole Boelter
"One of the focus areas for our work through SHIP is helping to improve opportunities for people to be physically active, so helping older adults stay active and independent is an important part of our overall goal."
Exercise physiologist Nicole Boelter is leading the effort at Rivers Edge. "With the support of Healthy Together," Boelter said, "we’ll be able to make a positive difference for older adults in St. Peter and the surrounding community."