Woman exercising with YMCA staff member. Text reads healthy steps (logo)
Tampa Bay YMCAs have come together to benefit area seniors.

Falling is a fear many of us have shared or harbored for our seniors. We don't want it ever to happen. September is Fall Prevention Month, and the Tampa Bay Area YMCAs are working on preventative initiatives by coming together to help seniors in our communities. Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA, YMCA of the Suncoast and YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg are each hosting the Healthy Steps for Older Adults (HSOA) free program, which is an evidence-based fall risk screening and education class for adults ages 65 and older.

The collaboration has been made possible due to a federal grant from the U.S. Administration for Community Living (ACL) awarded to YMCA of the Suncoast. The grant helps "reduce falls and the risk of falling among older adults and adults with disabilities in order to maximize their independence."

According to the ACL, "More than one out of four older adults fall each year. Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among adults 65 and older and are very costly."

"The YMCA of the Suncoast is grateful for the funding award from the Administration for Community Living to continue fall prevention efforts throughout the Tampa Bay Area. In partnership with the Tampa Metro YMCA, YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg and BayCare Health System, we are excited to help improve the lives of older adults in our community by reducing their risk for falls," shares Summer Cruff, Vice President of Healthy Living at the YMCA of the Suncoast.

"The YMCA's Healthy Steps participants have found it to be a fun and interactive two-day workshop that addresses the issue of falls which is the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations among adults over 60 years old. Participants receive a take-home safety checklist, local resource list and an individual fall risk assessment they can share with their physician. They enjoy learning and practicing easy fall prevention exercises (chair optional) that they can do at home as well," says Kieran Gabel, Director of Community Health for the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg.

Dawn Kita, Tampa Y's Operational Director, Community Health notes:

"Participants have enjoyed the seminars, learning a variety of concepts from how to make their homes safer by reducing fall risks to exercises they can do at home to strengthen their muscles and increase their balance to reduce falling anywhere. Everyone leaves with easy nuggets they can immediately implement to reduce their risk of falling."

To register for Tampa Y's Fall Prevention Programs, click here.

Visit YMCA of the Suncoast's website for Fall Prevention Programs for Seniors.

YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg's Fall Prevention Program information is here.