By Betty Berry, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2010  Q: I keep hearing about the need for seniors to include physical activity in their daily activities, but I never seem to have the time or interest. How can I get started?

A: I am always excited to report on a new program or activity for seniors. Senior Concerns and the SCAN Senior Resource Center, in cooperation with California Lutheran University’s exercise science department, will be offering the Active Living Every Day course, which helps sedentary people become and stay physically active for a lifetime. The course, developed by the Cooper Institute, uses established behavior change models to empower people to overcome barriers to physical activity.

The 14-week course, designed for inactive seniors 60 and older, will be held from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Mondays starting Sept. 13 at Senior Concerns Day Center, 401 Hodencamp Road, Thousand Oaks.

The initial session is free for the first 20 qualified seniors. Participants who enroll in the program will be required to commit to all 14 sessions.

The class will be conducted by Bob McCullagh, a certified ALED instructor at the SCAN Senior Resource Center in Ventura. For more information about this program and to find out if you qualify to participate, call the center at 658-0365.

Q: In the past few months I have had several friends laid up due to a fall. I believe this is one of the most serious things that can happen to a senior. Do you have any hints on how to avoid falls in the home?

A: A fall in itself is bad enough, but it can, and many times does, result in additional problems. Some victims never fully recover from the effects of a fall.

Falls can occur in any part of the home, but some rooms are more dangerous than others, starting with what is usually the smallest room in the house: the bathroom. A wet, soapy floor, tub or shower can be more slippery than a skating rink, and just getting in or out of the shower or tub can throw off one’s balance. To help eliminate slippery conditions, place grab bars and skid-proof flooring in every bathroom. Make sure someone knows how to properly install these safety tools. A poorly installed grab bar is worse than not having a grab bar at all.

Another dangerous room is the kitchen. Again, spills on the floor can make the floor slippery.

Partial open drawers and cabinet doors can throw someone off balance who tries to avoid or bumps into them. A little effort to wipe up spills and close drawers and doors when they’re not in use, will help eliminate dangerous situations.

Stairs can be deadly: Loose handrails, slippery conditions, worn carpeting, poor lighting and objects left on steps are all hazards.

Handrails should be securely attached to the wall and go from the first step to last step. Light switches should be at the top and bottom of the stairs so they can be turned on whether a person is ascending or descending.

Other rooms can create dangerous conditions due to poor lighting, cluttered walkways, lamp cords, and throw or scatter rugs.

A periodic review of each room in your home to correct unsafe conditions might help ensure a fall-free environment.


– Understanding Social Security seminar, 1:30-3 p.m. Sept. 8, Westlake Village Civic Center, 31200 E. Oak Crest Drive, Westlake Village. For more information, call 495-6250.

— Betty Berry is a senior advocate for Senior Concerns. The advocates are at the Goebel Senior Adult Center, 1385 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362; call 495-6250 or e-mail (please include your telephone number). You are invited to submit questions on senior issues.

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