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Falls prevention awareness week announced in Maine
September 21 - 27, 2008
Stephens Memorial Hospital wants Maine seniors to
take action to guard themselves against falls

Norway, Maine,- In conjunction with The Maine Falls Prevention Coalition, Governor John Baldacci has proclaimed September 21-27, 2008 Falls Prevention Awareness Week.  In line with the change of season from summer to fall, Maine seniors are being encouraged to take action to reduce their risk of falling.

Many seniors are fearful of falling and often change their schedules or curtail activities they enjoy because of this fear. Stephens Memorial Hospital and Market Square Health Care Center, in cooperation with Healthy Oxford Hills presents a class that can help Western Maine seniors proactively face their fear of falling.  The class, A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns About Falls, emphasizes practical strategies to reduce this fear and increase activity levels. It encourages participants to view falls and fear of falling as controllable. Interested seniors need only call Kate Goldberg at Healthy Oxford Hills at 207-743-1562 x 772 to get more information on upcoming classes. There will be a session held later this fall, and dates are to be announced.   A Matter of Balance is an award-winning program designed to manage falls and increase activity levels.  The program consists of eight class sessions.  Participants learn to set realistic goals to increase activity, change their environment to reduce fall risk factors, and learn simple exercises to increase strength and balance. 

Patients should also be mindful of the fact that the Physical Therapy Department at Stephens Memorial Hospital and Market Square provide comprehensive fall evaluations for all patients referred as being a fall risk or having a fall related injury.  In patients at the hospital are all evaluated for their fall risk and interventions are put in place to prevent falls while they are in the hospital.

The Proclamation issued by Governor John Baldacci offers interesting information about falls and how they impact the senior population.
" it is estimated that one-third of adults over the age of 60 and 50 percent of adults over the age of 80 will fall each year 
" the medical cost associated with each fall-related hospitalization is estimated at $37,000
" falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury deaths among people over the age of 65, and the leading cause of doctor visits, hospital admissions, and emergency room visits
(Statistics from the 2006 Maine Falls Prevention Coalition Report to the Legislature)


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"With these sobering statistics in mind, the Coalition is eager to get the word out to Maine seniors that this class can help them take back control of their lives.  All too often, seniors simply reduce their activity levels because of a fear of falling, and that's the last thing we want for them," stated Diana Scully, Director, Office of Elder Services, Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

Western Maine Health works with the Maine Falls Prevention Coalition.  Coalition members include: Southern Maine Agency on Aging, MaineHealth's Partnership for Healthy Aging (PFHA), Maine Medical Center Division of Geriatrics, University of Southern Maine, School of Social Work,  A Matter of Balance participant and coach, AARP Maine, City of Portland, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Maine Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, Maine Nutrition Network, Maine Office of Elder Services, Maine State Housing Authority, New England Rehabilitation Hospital, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, University of New England, Geriatric Education Center, Maine Medical Association, Maine Hospital Association, Northern New England Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, Maine Health Care Association.

Stephens Memorial Hospital is an affiliate of Western Maine Health, which is part of the Maine Health® family.  Visit Western Maine Health on the Internet at www.wmhcc.org.

 
 
 
Health Information

181 Main Street, Norway, Maine 04268 | (207) 743-5933, TTY (for the hearing impaired): (207) 743-1597