OLEAN, N.Y. – The mission of Total Senior Care is to help keep senior citizens independently safe in their homes and communities. During Older Americans Month each May, that purpose especially rings true.

This year’s theme for Older Americans Month is “Safe Today. Healthy Tomorrow.” The theme focuses on injury prevention and safety to encourage older adults to protect themselves and remain active and independent for as long as possible.

In keeping with this theme, the Cattaraugus County Falls Prevention Coalition through the Step Up to Stop Falls Campaign, will continue to assist older adults by offering activities and programs to help prevent falls.

Total Senior Care, Program of All-Inclusive Elderly Care (PACE), is doing its part by offering a Pillow Dancing exercise for its nearly 100 participants at 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 28 at the Total Senior Care center, 519 N. Union St. The practice of holding a pillow closely to one’s chest while dancing promotes good posture and balance.

Falls are a big health care concern for seniors — 1 out of 3 people over 65 fall each year and 1 of 10 falls end in hospitalization. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that more than half of fall injuries, 56 percent, occurred at home.

Older adults can take these steps to decrease the likelihood of a fall:

· Identify areas that may put you at risk, such as your home environment and/or your physical challenges.

· Know your medicines and check with your doctor to determine if they may cause dizziness or feeling off balance. If medication isn’t the problem, make an appointment to get your vision checked.

· Make your home safer: Address items such as throw rugs, loose cords, clutter and poor lighting.

· Finally, be in balance. Attend Tai Chi classes or Six Steps to Better Balance programs in your area. Exercises to improve balance really do work.

For more information on the Falls Prevention Coalition programs, or to obtain a free home safety assessment, contact Cattaraugus County Department of Aging/NY Connects, at 1-800-462-2901. To learn more about Total Senior Care, call 1-866-939-8613 or visit www.totalseniorcare.org.

The coalition is a collective effort between the Cattaraugus County Health Department, Cattaraugus County Department of Aging/NY Connects, Healthy Community Alliance, Total Senior Care, and the Upper Allegany Health Systems and is supported by a grant from the Health Foundation of Western and Central New York.  It is part of the Foundation’s initiative across multiple counties in both regions to develop effective preventive measures to minimize falls among older adults.  The Health Foundation is a non-profit private foundation, the mission of which is to improve the health and healthcare of the people of Western and Central New York.