Hi, everyone. Welcome to Senior Corner.

It’s my great pleasure to write this column to hopefully be of service to our Napa Valley seniors. I enjoy sharing what I learn when researching ideas for a healthy, happy life as a senior.

I love that when we meet each Saturday, we share the good things in our lives, and occasionally, the things that are not so wonderful.

Today, I’ll be sharing with you a little problem that I’m having lately, and by sharing, I’m hoping that some of what we’ll be talking about might also be of help a few of you folks, too.

At the moment, my physical problem is that my walking is a little unsteady, and my balance is not great, causing me to worry about the possibility of falling. After reading about some of the statistics of falling, I don’t want either one of us to have to go down that road.

I’m delighted to give you the name and contact information of a free service program called StopFalls Napa Valley. Their phone number is 255-5328 and website is www.stopfallsnapavalley.org

I’d like to share with you how amazing StopFalls folks are. They will come to your home and provide home safety assessments and improve access to affordable housing modifications. But, even before you do that, since half of all falls happen in the home, I would strongly suggest that you make the following changes to immediately make your home safer.

— Remove things you can trip over (Papers, books, clothes, and shoes), from stairs and places where you walk.

— Remove small throw rugs or use double-sided tape to keep the rugs from slipping.

— Keep items you use often in cabinets you can reach easily without using a step stool.

— Have grab bars put in next to your toilet and in the tub or shower.

— Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors.

— Improve the lighting in your home. As you get older, you need brighter lights to see well. Hang light-weight curtains or shades to reduce glare.

— Have handrails and lights put in on all staircases.

— Wear shoes both inside and outside the house. Avoid going barefoot or wearing slippers.

The following is extremely important for us to do to prevent our falling.

— Begin a regular exercise program. Lack of exercise makes us weaker, increasing our chances of falling.

— Have your health care provider review our medicines. Combinations of certain medicines can make us sleepy or dizzy and can cause falls.

— Have your vision checked. Poor vision can increase our chances of falling.

Here are some pretty scary statistics. More than one third of adults 65 and older fall each year, and 20 to 30 percent suffer moderate to severe injuries such as bruises, hip fractures, or head traumas.

People 75 and older who fall are four to five times more likely to be admitted to a long-term care facility for a year or longer after injury. Falls can increase the risk of early death.

Okay, let’s move out of these depressing facts and vow to do all the things listed to maintain our good physical and mental health.

Call it our good luck, but StopFalls Napa Valley will be presenting two fall prevention events. The first will be presented on Friday, Sept. 23 at 9-11 a.m., at Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson St., Napa. There will be videos, exercise demos and giveaways. Also, snacks will be provided.

The second event will be on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Rianda House, 1475 Main St., St. Helena. The presenter is Starr Piner, member, Fall Prevention Coalition. A light lunch will be provided. You must call (707) 963-8555 to reserve a spot.

The theme of both events is, “Do you know common causes of balance and mobility problems? Come and learn simple things you can do to prevent falls.”

Yes, we are getting older, and yes, we will begin having a problem or two from time to time, but the key seems to be, stay physically active as the most important thing we can do. Otherwise, we’ll start to lose our flexibility and strength.

I’ll be looking for you at the StopFalls Event at Napa Senior Activity Center, as I live in Napa. I know you want to continue leading a healthy, happy life as do I, but we must get off that sofa and get to work if we intend to remain healthy and independent.

One of the very best ‘avenues of help’ is with StopFalls Napa Valley, and we are in great good luck, as they are presenting programs in both Napa, at the Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson St., and, Rianda House, 1475 Main Street, St. Helena

The Napa event is called “Fall Prevention Event”, to be held on Friday, Sept. 23 from 9 to 11 a.m.

Both events ask the question: “Do you know the common causes of balance and mobility problems?” They suggest that we come and learn simple things we can do to prevent falls.

Snacks will be provided. There will be videos, exercise demonstrations and giveaways.

Now, let’s talk about the “StopFalls Fair—-Stay on your Feet!” event in St. Helena at Rianda House Senior Center, 1475 Main St. on Wednesday, Sept. 28 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. A light lunch will be provided and we must call for reservations at 963-8555. The presenter will be: Starr Piner, member of Fall Prevention Coalition.

Each event is a free service program sponsored by the Area Agency on Aging Serving Napa and Solano counties, the Fall Prevention Coalition, and by Kaiser Permanente.

I enjoyed being with you as I always do. Please continue sending emails. I love hearing from you.

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Contact Betty Rhodes at bettyrrhodes@sbcglobal.net.