Marco Y embraces Fall Prevention Day


The older population and hard falls – sometimes with disastrous long-term consequences – is a real issue. But there precautions you can take, and the Greater Marco Family YMCA is playing its part in raising awareness and prevention.

This coincides with Saturday's National Fall Prevention Day, which aims to turn around the frightening statistic that one in four people older than 65 suffer life-changing falls every year.

Every year, the National Council on Aging recognizes Fall Prevention Day on Sept. 23 — the first day of fall.

The Y is perfectly poised to help bring down that number, says Health & Wellness Director Deborah Passero.

She emphasizes that falls are not reserved for the frail.

“Even older adults who are in good health can suffer a fall, and many families oftentimes underestimate the risks and steps needed to prevent them," said Passero.

Step one, she says, is assessing the risk for individuals (at and then considering Y programs such as aqua fitness, tai chi, gentle body power, yoga, Fit 4 Life, barre, cardio strength, Sculpt 90 Fusion, FITT Bootcamp, ballroom dance, step and Zumba.

"The Y in many cases plays a significant part in the health of our members as they age," said Y board member Chuck Thomas.

Fall prevention workshops are planned in Marshfield and Wisconsin Rapids.

"Me included, I'm 84 and if I didn't attend the Y at least three or four times a week I would probably have trouble walking or getting out of a chair. But I am still doing triathlons, and my wife and I bike regularly."

Marco Islander Keith Dameron is passionate about the cause, and devotes much of his time to education.

Noting that 60 percent off falls happen in the home, and in turn 70 percent of those falls occur in the bathroom, Dameron agrees that diminished core strength is one of the culprits - along with in-home obstacles, medication interaction, vision and hearing deficiencies and unsafe footwear.

"Each of these fall-causing factors can be easily addressed making the home a safer place to be," says Dameron, who is CEO of Step Smart Collier's Senior Fall Prevention Coalition.

Collier County, Dameron says, has the dubious distinction of having a 55 percent higher death rate from falls than the State of Florida.

"Seniors must take the initiative to reach out to area organizations such as the YMCA and Step Smart Collier to learn how not be become a statistic,” he says.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has additional tips for (particularly) seniors that include leg strength exercises, reviewing medicines with a doctor or pharmacist, and annual eye check-ups.

The center also suggests making homes safer by removing clutter and tripping hazards, installing stair rails and bathroom grab-bars, and also opting for proper lighting.

National Falls Prevention Day is endorsed by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and the Falls Free Coalition.

To learn more about the Greater Marco Family YMCA's Moving for Better Balance and Healthy Living Programs, contact Deborah Passero at 394-9622, or by e-mail at

And, to learn more about the Y's wide variety of programs and activities for youth and adults, call 394-3144 or visit