Health champions for 2016.
by Lori Harasta
The Elderly Fall Prevention Coalition of Ventura County earned the “Health Champion Award” for 2016.
Annually, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors presents “Health Champion” awards to local community organizations on behalf the Partnership for a Healthy Ventura County. Recipients are recognized for their efforts toward achieving the vision of the Partnership: that Ventura County will be recognized as the healthiest county in California.
Clearly, falls impact health. One-third of adults over the age of 65 and one-half of adults over the age of 80 will fall each year. More than 40% of seniors recovering from fractured hips are unable to ever return home. Ventura County has more seniors over the age of 80 than any other county in California.
Recognizing these facts and observing patients’ pain and suffering far too often, Dr. Thomas Duncan, Chief of Staff and Co-Director of Trauma at Ventura County Medical Center (VCMC) formed the Elderly Fall Prevention Coalition (EFPC) of Ventura County in 2013, partnering with other agencies serving Ventura County. A primary partner is the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging (VCAAA), headed by Director Victoria Jump.
People that have fallen are referred by emergency medical services or hospital staff to a Fall Prevention Coordinator who interviews and refers patients to appropriate programs and services. There is a 90% overall acceptance rate of services offered and participation has significantly reduced secondary falls compared to non-participants.
One of EFPC’s goals is to educate the community and facilitate changes in behavior to prevent initial falls of elderly residents. The education committee plans and presents two fall prevention forums per year. A forum in Spanish (translated to English) is planned for Saturday, April 29th from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Santa Paula Senior Center. For more information, call 477-7300.
In addition, four evidence-based exercise programs are now serving seniors in Ventura County.
A Matter of Balance is a program designed to reduce the fear of falling and increase the activity levels of older adults.
Stepping On offers people information, strategies, and exercises to reduce falls and increase self-confidence in situations where they are at risk of falling.
Walk with Ease is proven to reduce the pain and discomfort of arthritis; increase balance, strength and walking pace; build confidence in one’s ability to be physically active; and improve overall health.
Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance is a research-based balance training regimen designed for older adults and people with balance disorders.
To find out more about the evidence-based fall prevention exercise programs listed above, call Dina at VCAAA 477-7300.