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“This is literally a matter of life or death to seniors.”

That was Keith Dameron’s message to the Marco Island Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) during its Jan. 18 meeting at the Hideaway Beach Club.

Dameron is the CEO of Step Smart Collier, a non-profit organization created to increase awareness of the risks and repercussions of falls.  “We’re doing our best to educate seniors and try to help them live longer and improve their quality of life,” he explained.

Dameron said the statistics are alarming. “Every 15 seconds, an older adult goes to an emergency room for a fall-­related injury. Falls can result in hip fractures, broken bones and head injuries. Nearly one third of Americans falls every year and 20 percent of them are hospitalized.”

“But,” Dameron elaborated, “that’s just the beginning of what often is the end; 11 percent of those hospitalized from a fall never return home again. Half of them die within a year.”

Step Smart Collier warns that 60 percent of falls happen in the home; 30 percent happen in places like restaurants and parking lots. In Collier County, the average death rate of seniors who have fallen is 55 percent higher than the state average. Last year, there were 238 fall-related deaths of seniors, compared to 111 auto accident deaths.

“But,” Dameron told the members, “we only have eight percent more seniors than the state of Florida. Clearly, we have a problem.”

Dameron described the DAR women as very receptive to the problem and eager to hear about solutions.  One member said she already had addressed the one hundred suggestions of how to fall-proof a home.  That list of potential hazards and other materials are available to download from the Step Smart Collier website.

To learn more about Step Smart Collier, visit stepsmartcollier.org or call Keith Dameron at 239-734-1021.

DAR has 180,000 members in 3,000 chapters worldwide.  Members are women 18 years or older, regardless of race, religion or ethnic background, who can prove lineal descent from a patriot in the American Revolution.

The DAR supports the active US Military and veterans with more than 200,000 hours of volunteer time annually at VA hospitals and other facilities.  Members donate care packages, phone cards and needed personal items to America’s service personnel abroad.  Members also participate in naturalization ceremonies and recognize outstanding veterans and ROTC/JROTC cadets.

 The Marco Island Chapter of the DAR was established in 1976. It has 59 members and 15 associates. Monthly luncheon meetings are at 10:30 a.m. on the third Thursday of each month. Potential members and visitors from other chapters are welcome.

Information: Karen Lombardi at 239-394-0028

 

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