Each June, the National Safety Council celebrates National Safety Month as an opportunity to bring attention to important safety issues including preventing slips, trips and falls. The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA) recognizes programs and community-based organizations throughout New York City serving vulnerable older New Yorkers that provide them with injury prevention strategies and instruction so they may live safely in their homes.
Older adults are at a much higher risk of unintentional injury and even death than the rest of the population. Seniors experience at least 6 million medically treated injuries and more than 30,000 deaths every year. Additionally, one out of every three older adults falls every year, but less than half actually speak to their healthcare provider about it.
“National Safety Month is the optimum time to highlight programs that are designed to educate seniors how to remain injury free,” states Kathleen Fitzgibbons, senior policy analyst for Elderly Welfare and Youth Services, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA). “It is imperative that older adults have continued guidance and support from trained social service professionals on ways to live safely and comfortably within their communities so that they may have continued prosperity and stability,” continued Fitzgibbons.
“Heights and Hills’s mission is to promote successful aging in the community. Our services focus on keeping elders safe and independent in their homes,” says Judy Willig, executive director of Brooklyn-based Heights and Hills. “Our case managers perform in-home assessments to determine how we can best support each senior so they can avoid injuries. Our goal is to identify and remove barriers that impede the older adults’ safe functioning in their environment,” continued Willig.
“Preventing injury among the older individuals we serve is of paramount concern to Search and Care,” reports Susan Siroto, program director for the agency which serves Harlem residents. “Search and Care offers a multi-tiered case management model where seniors are fully assessed. Our care managers, work with occupational therapy interns to help many of our elders remain safe and independent with falls prevention initiatives including shower safety treads, reviewing and adjusting home lighting, and teaching chair ergonomics. Additionally, at our upcoming symposium, a doctor from The Center for Health and Healing will be speaking with 250 community elders about balance and safety in a panel segment entitled “Put Your Best Foot Forward,” notes Siroto.
The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies: is an anti-poverty, policy and advocacy organization with a membership network of nearly 200 human services organizations and churches that operate over 1,200 programs throughout the New York City metro area. Together we serve over 1.5 million low-income New Yorkers of all ages, ethnicities and denominations each year. For more than 90 years, FPWA has been a prominent force in New York City’s social service system, meeting the needs of New York’s most vulnerable. For more information, please visit our website at www.fpwa.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.