Fall prevention methods taught by Fairfield University School of Nursing faculty and students throughout Fairfield County


Image: Matter of BalanceDid you know that three out of ten people over 70 suffer falls each year? Or that falls are more common than strokes and can be just as serious in their consequences?

To address these troubling and sometimes life-changing concerns, Fairfield University's School of Nursing students and faculty are teaching a series of free community workshops to help prevent falls, with support from a $20,000 grant from the Southwestern Connecticut Agency on Aging.

Called 'A Matter of Balance,' the eight-week series of two-hour workshops kicked off recently at eight different sites throughout Fairfield County, including the Fairfield Senior Center, Westport Senior Center, Wilton Senior Center and locations in Bridgeport and Stratford, among others. The classes are designed to reduce the fear of falling, increase activity levels among older adults, and teach exercises to improve balance and muscle strength. Lessons include 30 simple exercises one can do at home, sitting on a chair or standing behind it. Also on the agenda is a review of ways you can make your home safer to ward against falls, complete with a safety checklist. Participants will even be showed the right way to fall, good walking posture, and how to sit before getting up.

The workshops are led by Geraldine M. Chalykoff, Ph.D., RN, visiting assistant professor at Fairfield's School of Nursing, and nursing students enrolled in the Public Health Nursing course, a service-learning course in which academic study is linked with community service.

"We encourage the participants to help one another to problem solve and to replace fears of falling with constructive ideas to prevent falling," said Dr.Chalykoff. "It is a great way to build confidence and increase activity."

According to the Connecticut Collaboration for Fall Prevention, falls are the most preventable cause of needing nursing home placement. Not only can fall injuries lead to problems with dressing, bathing and walking, they can cause fractures and hospitalization.

The Maine Healthy Partnership developed the "A Matter of Balance" workshops.

Agencies interested in hosting a future Matter of Balance program are asked to contact Dr. Chalykoff at (203) 254-4000 ext. 3225 or e-mail gchalykoff@fairfield.edu.

*Members of the press are invited to attend a Matter of Balance workshop. Please call Meg McCaffrey if interested at (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726.

For more information about Fairfield University's School of Nursing, visit http://www.fairfield.edu/son/.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on February 27, 2014

Vol. 46, No. 194