Stepping On workshops help older adults

October 24, 2017

A new program at Sanford Bismarck is helping seniors step more safely.

As a physical therapist at Sanford Bismarck, Catherine Staloch has worked with countless patients recovering from bad falls.

She wanted to do something to help prevent the negative physical and emotional impact associated with a fall rather than just treating the resulting injury.

With the support of funds from the Sanford Health Foundation West Region general endowment, Staloch has brought Stepping On, an internationally recognized fall prevention program, to Sanford Bismarck.

The free seven-week course helps older adults reduce falls by offering strength and balance exercises, medication reviews, vision exams and education about home safety and safe footwear.

In a small group setting, participants have the chance to visit with medical experts, including an optometrist and a pharmacist who can explain how medications affect balance. There are also speakers from the community, including a police officer who recently educated participants about getting around in public spaces and Beth Bakke Stenehjem (pictured above) from ND Assistive who discussed available services and options for home safety equipment.

“Participants have either experienced a fall themselves, multiple falls, or have a fear of falling,” Staloch said. “A fear of falling increases the risk of having a fall because we start to move less and we move differently.”

Since the program started earlier this year, about 30 participants have taken the course, including Peg Reuther of Bismarck.

“I had slipped on the ice a few years ago, and I was fearful about falling again,” Reuther said. “I just think it’s neat to have a program that can help us prepare for lifestyle changes that come with getting older.

“They have given us a lot of helpful information and brought up a lot things I never thought would be connected to balance.”

Reuther said she’d recommend the program to anyone who wants to be proactive about their health.

“It’s a program that is well-worth attending,” Reuther said.

Gifts to the general endowment fund give Sanford’s leadership the flexibility to distribute resources toward areas of greatest need, whether related to patient care, research or education. These funds also launch unique projects like Stepping On that are sometimes not included in the budget but still fill important needs.

Support the general endowment fund with a gift today!