The Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) of Sheboygan County has been concerned about the statistics that are being reported on falls among our seniors in Sheboygan County.
Wisconsin ranks in the bottom 5 of 50 states in fall-related deaths, and in 2012 Sheboygan County was near the top of Wisconsin’s 72 counties for reported fall deaths for seniors.
We are in the middle of counties reporting emergency department (ED) visits, and in the lower half of hospitalizations related to falls, but we were near the top for reported deaths in 2012.
Nationally, falls have replaced car accidents as the leading cause of injury death for seniors.
In response to this problem of falls for those 65 and older, the ADRC has tried different strategies to increase awareness of the risk of falls.
Since 2010, the county has offered an evidence-based fall prevention workshop called Stepping On. This is a multifactorial approach to raise risk awareness and to promote exercises that improve strength and balance. To date, we have had over 350 participants. Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance was added to our evidence-based offerings and started in 2017.
Over 30 seniors have participated in this workshop. This workshop focuses on increasing strength and balance. Walk with Ease, a program developed by the Arthritis Foundation is shown to reduce pain, increase strength and balance and general well-being. This is offered throughout the county through the Senior Meal Dining program. Every year, September is Fall Prevention month and Sept. 22 is Fall Prevention Day.
Various activities have been promoted around the county since 2012 on this nationally recognized day. This last autumn, the ADRC, Division of Public Health and the Senior Activity Centers teamed up and offered fall risk screenings around the county. 119 seniors were screened. We are hoping to expand these screenings in the future throughout the county.
Starting in 2015, the ADRC and the Sheboygan Fire Department (SFD) have teamed up to offer ADRC services to those that are served by the SFD. In 2017 the Division of Public Health joined with the ADRC and SFD to work on a more strategic plan for involving the community in our efforts. Our goal is to reduce the number of ED visits and hospitalizations from falls with the goal of reducing the deaths from falls.
We need the community’s help. We would like to team up with more community organizations and members to help our citizens become more aware of the risks of falling, their personal risk and actions they can take to prevent falls. If you are a member of an organization or a very interested senior that would like to team up with us to tackle this problem, consider attending a Fall Prevention Summit.
The Fall Prevention Summit is hosted by the ADRC, Division of Public Health and SFD from 8-10 a.m. on Thursday, March 22 at Aging & Disability Resource Center (ADRC), 650 Forest Avenue, Sheboygan Falls, in Room 105.
For more details, please visit the Sheboygan County Aging & Disability Resource Center website at // www.sheboygancounty.com, email them at ADRC@sheboygancounty.com, or call them at (920) 467-4100.
Annette Selk is a Sheboygan County Public Health Nurse and Health Promotion Specialist at the Sheboygan County Aging & Disability Resource Center.