Seniors citizens may be at risk of falling and not even know. Father Time has a way of sneaking up on people. UCHealth Memorial offers a class to help seniors avoid falls and live healthier lives. It’s called Stepping On. It began in Australia to teach seniors skills they may not develop on their own.
Injury prevention specialist Lori Morgan at Memorial and leads the classes. "We have physical therapists that are teaching the class with us. Balance and strengthening exercises are the core of stepping on. We also give them strategies to prevent falling like making sure they have good shoes, and making sure they are scanning the area, before they walk to an area."
Marilyn Hinterberger and her husband Bob have completed Stepping On. Marilyn says at first they weren't sure what they were getting into. "When I first signed up I wasn't looking forward to it that much because it was once a week for two hours, for 7 weeks and I thought ‘oh boy, that is really long,’ but the thing that amazed me was that I never looked at my watch."
Now Marilyn says that she and Bob view even the simple tasks of life differently. “When you’re young you jump out of a chair you dart, but when you’re over 55 you need to stop and look around first."
Not being aware of nearby objects can lead to a fall, and Marilyn says that can lead to even more trouble. "If you fall many times, you end up where you don't want to end up."
It’s something Lori Morgan has seen far too many times. "What can happen is they can fall and fracture a hip or hit their head and have a traumatic brain injury. Those things can be devastating, and they can end up in a nursing home and the quality of life can be really reduced. So we are trying to prevent people from falling so they can have a good quality of life and not be in a place other than their home."
Who's a prime candidate for stepping on? Lori says, "If you are mostly independent, not using a walker all of the time, then you a good candidate for the class. Anybody who has fallen or is afraid of falling is a good candidate.”
Marilyn says, “I would say anyone that is 55 or older, it’s for you, it really is. Not only do you learn the exercises you need to learn, but then we have experts there, therapists, a lady firefighter that spoke to us, we had a pharmacist who went over all our pills with us. I just hope a lot of people will sign up and take advantage of it."
For those interested in learning more, or signing up for Stepping On there are a few spots left for the next class starting June 22nd. There will be another class in September at Memorial North. To sign up go to health link at uchealth.org/healthlink or call 719-444-CARE (2273).