Nevada County falls prevention coalition aims to keep seniors safe and informed |

Nevada County falls prevention coalition aims to keep seniors safe and informed

The Forever Young Senior Chorus is set to perform at next week's event.
Photos courtesy of Karen Marinovich |

Know & Go

What: 10th Annual Falls Prevention Coalition’s community event

When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Seventh-day Adventist Church, 12899 Osborn Hill Road, Grass Valley

Info: Today is the last day for registration, which is free, but a $10 donation is requested. Reservations can be made by calling 530-271-0255. For more information go to


How to reduce the risk of falling

Begin a regular exercise program. Exercises, including walking, that improve muscle strength and balance.

Make your home safer. Remove things you can trip over. Use night lights and install grab bars in the bathroom.

Have your healthcare provider review your medications. Some medications or combinations of medications can make you drowsy or light-headed, which can lead to a fall.

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

For thousands of Nevada County residents, falling down can drastically disrupt their quality of life and even lead to death.

According to the Centers for Disease and Control, every second of every day in the United States an older adult falls, making falls the number one cause of injuries and deaths from injury among older Americans.

This year’s 10th Annual Falls Prevention Coalition’s Community event will feature several breakout sessions that will give guests intimate access to programs available within the community.

The day will feature: a resource fair, a fun, interactive and informative program, the Forever Young Senior Chorus, morning coffee and pastries provided by Eskaton Village Grass Valley and Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters and a healthy, Buffet style lunch courtesy of Atria Grass Valley.

This year’s keynote speaker will feature Leslie Kernisan, MD, MPH., a clinical instructor at UCSF Division of Geriatrics and a nationally known geriatrics health education expert.

In 2014 alone, over 1,000 Nevada County residents went to the Emergency Department at Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital due to a fall. Another 513 people age 50 to 64 had a fall injury that led to a visit to the emergency department. An additional 288 individuals were admitted to the hospital because of a fall. 85 people aged 50 to 64 were admitted.

In an effort to decrease these incidents that sometimes, sadly, lead to death, the Falls Prevention Coalition of Nevada County is ramping up its outreach efforts and getting ready to host its annual community event that attracts hundreds of local seniors.

The coalition is a 30-member group of seniors and professionals who work with seniors and nurses, physical and occupational therapists, senior exercise specialists, health educators and independent living and rehabilitation/long-term care specialists.

Source: Amy Abt, Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation

Coordinator Karen Marinovich says the program’s goal over the next 18 months will be creating a local Falls Prevention Program based on opportunities and resources available in Nevada County.

“We want to develop strong relationships with community partners and work with healthcare providers to develop support for our program,” said Marinovich. “We are working to create a community-based, sustainable program that will have a positive impact on our growing senior population.”

One of the program’s goals is to continue to target individuals who are 50 and older in an effort to reduce the stigma associated with falling and as a way of early intervention.

“There is a fear that if a person has fallen, that it has to inevitably lead to a loss of independence,” said Marinovich. “Therefore, if there is no injury involved with the fall, people often hesitate to talk about the situation. However, the opposite is actually true.

“If that stigma can be removed earlier rather than later, it’s incredibly beneficial to someone as they get older. It frees them to openly talk about the fact that they fell, begin to understand why they fell and develop a plan to have control over their life.”

Marinovich added that the motto of falls prevention is that not all falls can be avoided, but the vast majority of them can be prevented. If someone has been working to prevent falls and actually does fall they are much less likely to severely injure themselves.

Marinovich also stressed the importance of individuals feeling comfortable mentioning a fall to their doctor. According to Marinovich, as well as the Centers for Disease Control, most falls are caused by health-based risks, environmental risks or both. Sometimes something as simple as a medication combined with another or taken at a certain time during the day can cause a fall.

“We help (individuals) understand why and how falls happen,” said Marinovich. “It’s important to take details to your doctor, such as a list of medicines, as well as when and where you are taking them.”

The program also helps patients interact with their doctors to develop an exercise plan, if necessary, to help strengthen muscles and work on balance.

“We help them to develop their own personalized fall prevention plan,” said Marinovich. “It’s all about empowerment.”

For more information visit or call 530-274-6739.

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