Falls Prevention Grant awarded to HCA

GOWANDA – The Health Foundation for Western & Central New York recently awarded a grant of $70,000 to the Healthy Community Alliance, lead agency for the Cattaraugus County Falls Prevention Coalition. The Coalition was formed in 2010 and this second phase of funding allows for the continuation and expansion of falls prevention activities over the next 18 months.

The Cattaraugus County Falls Prevention Coalition is comprised of five core partners: Cattaraugus County Department of Aging, Cattaraugus County Health Department, HCA, Olean General Hospital and Total Senior Care. These organizations, along with many others, have worked over the past two years on a successful and varied series of falls prevention activities in communities across Cattaraugus County.

The Coalition will continue existing falls prevention work including Tai Chi to improve strength and balance, falls prevention presentations, trainings for health care and other senior service providers on home safety and falls risk assessments. One new activity being planned is “Six Steps to Better Balance,” a program developed by Betty Perkins Carpenter. This program teaches participants fun and easy ways to increase energy, flexibility and prevent falls. Trained leaders will present this 6-week program to interested senior groups, Senior Wellness and Nutrition sites, adult daycare and rehabilitation facilities.

Also being offered is the opportunity for physical therapy and occupational therapy professionals in the county to earn CME’s to enhance falls risk assessment skills by completing a series of online learning modules.

Falls Prevention Coordinator Sharon Noecker noted that “each year, one in every three adults age 65 and older falls. These falls can lead to moderate to severe injuries, such as hip fractures and head traumas, and can even increase the risk of early death. Fortunately, most falls are preventable and the Coalition’s efforts are making a difference in many lives.”

The Cattaraugus County Falls Prevention Coalition is supported by a grant from the Health Foundation for Western & Central New York. The Health Foundation is a non-profit private foundation the mission of which is to improve the health and health care of the people of Western and Central New York. For information on coalition activities and services, please contact the Cattaraugus County Department of Aging at 1-800-462-2901 or Healthy Community Alliance at 532-1010.