Putnam Seniors were thrilled to be able get together when the Putnam County Office for Senior Resources hosted 2 live outdoors events during this past Fall Prevention Week. These events were aimed to educate and inform Seniors on the risks and dangers of falls and to develop fall prevention skills and awareness. They also served to bring seniors together after many months of isolation due to the corona virus.
Over 60 seniors attended the events Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park on Tuesday, September 22nd and Wednesday, September 23rd at Putnam Valley Town Park. The events were supported by the Putnam County Department of Health, Nuvance Health Putnam Hospital Center and New York-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital. Events featured balance and tai chi exercises by instructors Naomi Cohen and Kim Cercena, and lectures and fall risk assessments by hospital physical therapists Kirsi Vera of Putnam Hospital and Jaclyn Cameron of Hudson Valley Hospital. Discussions on the impact of nutrition, medications, and home environment obstacles were led by OSR’s nurse, Michael Lambe. Lunch was provided and served by OSR’s nutrition staff.
This was the first in-person event hosted by OSR since March and it was blessed with sunny weather. Safe practices were readily adopted by the participating seniors – all wore face masks and readily maintained social distancing throughout the event. Originally planned as a virtual program, Michael Cunningham, OSR Director, saw an opportunity to promote live programs with the prospect of more comfortable weather and the availability of large covered pavilions. The idea was also adopted by neighboring Dutchess, Rockland and Orange Counties.
Putnam County asked for and received a Proclamation from New York State’s Office for the Aging and the Governor’s Office which highlighted:
- Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries among older adults
- Annually, in the U.S., there are 2.8 million injuries treated in ERs, over 800,000 hospitalizations, and more than 27,000 deaths
- 26% of New Yorkers are 65 years of age or older and one-fourth will fall each year
- The financial toll that results from falls may reach $101 Billion by 2030
- The personal toll is equally serious with falls leading to social isolation, depression, and losses of mobility and financial independence
- Falls were identified as a largely preventable community health problem and that efforts to provide exercise programs to improve balance and strength, medication management, vision improvement, reduction of home hazards, and fall prevention education are critical
The prevention of 1 fall could result in cost savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars in emergency medical treatment, hospitalizations, in-patient rehabilitation and convalescent care, and subsequent home assistance. Multiply that by the numbers of seniors who participated in these 2 events and others statewide and the payback on the investment of time and effort in organizing these Fall Prevention Expos could be staggering.