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Falls Prevention community event to feature senior chorus

Other Voices
Cynthia Schuetz

The Falls Prevention Coalition will present its seventh annual community event from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wed., Sept. 17. While we always love putting the event together, we are particularly excited that this year we will highlight the “Forever Young Senior Chorus.”

The Coalition decided to begin a chorus for seniors because we learned of research that correlates singing with a reduction in falls … yes, singing! How could we not jump on that emerging data and bring seniors together to sing, since we are interested in any approach that could reduce the alarming rate of falls in Nevada County.

To let you know why we’re so focused on falls risk reduction, here are the latest numbers. In our county in 2012, 1,003 seniors, age 65 and above, went to the ER because of a fall (459 people age 50-64 went). An additional 309 seniors were admitted to the hospital because of a fall (59 people age 50-64 were admitted). Note that people under 65, even those as young as 50, are not immune from falls!

Almost all seniors know someone who has fallen or have fallen themselves. Almost all seniors know at least some of the things they could do to reduce their risk of falling. Yet moving from “knowing” to “doing” can feel like a big leap. Seniors can be afraid to acknowledge they might be at risk because falls symbolize for some a fear of losing their independence. In addition, we’re creatures of habit. We like the status quo and changing our behavior can seem daunting.

We’ll do our best to make a not-fun topic into a fun learning experience.

In addition, talking about falls can be difficult. Seniors may not want to admit they’re at risk and loved ones may push too hard for a conversation parents aren’t ready to have. We plan to address both behavior change and talking about falls at the Sept. 17 event.

We always strive to make the event fun as well as informative. The “Forever Young Senior Chorus” will, we hope provide some of that fun. People 65 and older comprise the chorus membership, with an average age of 72. Many of us can’t read music, haven’t sung in years and were pretty apprehensive when we first met in May. Thank heavens no audition is required! And thank heavens for the kind leadership of our chorus director, Colleen Bond.

In the three months we’ve been singing together we’ve gotten better and better (though don’t come expecting the Master Chorale … we are definitely amateurs!). And we’re having fun. One member said, “I’ve been waiting for a group like this for years.”

We welcome new members … just give me a call at 530-263-1776 if you would like to come and see if this is for you. We rehearse every Wednesday morning at Eskaton, which generously offers space, cookies and sponsorship (though we know not everyone can be at every rehearsal).

We will sing two songs at the community event, “Forever Young” and “When I’m Sixty-Four” (with minor changes to accommodate for our ages!). After the event, we’ll be learning more songs and be available to sing at senior facilities and other venues (no charge, of course).

The Sept. 17 community event, as usual, will be free. There will be a morning continental breakfast and a box lunch, an informative and fun program, and a resource fair with over 25 vendors. This year we are holding the event at a new location, the Seventh Day Adventist Church, 12889 Osborne Hill Rd. (off Highway 174, between Union Hill School and Rattlesnake Road).

The event is for seniors, adult children (come with or without your parent), other caregivers and professionals … or anyone concerned about falls and their consequence. To register and let us know your sandwich choice, call HelpLine Senior Information & Assistance at 530-273-2273.

The Falls Prevention Coalition would love for you to come out and support our fledgling chorus and, in the process, learn more about how the risk of falling can be reduced. We’ll do our best to make a not-fun topic into a fun learning experience. Call HelpLine, at 530-273-2273, if you’d like more information.

Cynthia Schuetz is the director of the Falls Prevention Coalition of Nevada County.


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