Preventing Accidental Falls

Almost one out of every six people over the age of 65 has fallen at least once in the past three months, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and both the John Jermain Library in Sag Harbor and the East Hampton Library are planning free fall-prevention classes for older adults to reduce that statistic.

“Falls are among the leading reasons why older people end up hospitalized,” according to Grace Kelly-McGovern of the Suffolk County Department of Health, noting that the libraries’ C.D.C.-Sponsored seven-week program, called Stepping On, “has proven to reduce falls by 31 percent.”

The program is aimed at older people who live independently and who can walk without assistance. The Sag Harbor classes will begin next Thursday and will run until Sep. 21, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.; the library can give the exact dates. The East Hampton classes will take place on Aug. 17 and 21 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., continuing to Sept. 28.

The Stepping On program covers exercise, home hazards, safe footwear, vision, medication, safety strategies, bone health, and dealing with panic. The classes are led by trained professionals. Guest experts, including a physical therapist and a pharmacist, offer tips on preventing falls.

The program is highly interactive; those attending are expected to participate and practice techniques both in class and at home. Peer learning is encouraged, and participants will be able to share stories and tips with one another.

Registration for the Stepping On courses can be made online at johnjermain.org or easthamptonlibrary.org.