Rufty-Holmes wins national award for fall prevention fair

  • Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 12:30 a.m.

SALISBURY — Rufty-Holmes Senior Center has received an award from the National Council on Aging (NCOA) for its highly successful “Balance and Fall Prevention Fair.” The award was presented as part of NCOA’s National Institute of Senior Centers 2012 Programs of Excellence.

The “Balance and Fall Prevention Fair” held at Rufty-Holmes in August 2012 arose out of a need among the older adult participants who came to the center. Staff noticed that many participants had a fear of falling or were using walkers and canes inappropriately. One out of every three adults ages 65 or older is injured each year by a fall. In the USA, one third to one half of community dwelling older adults acknowledge a fear of falling. The Balance Fair was a collaboration among health care professionals and service providers in the Salisbury area who came together to provide real hands on help for community dwelling seniors.

Home health care providers, physical therapists, an optometrist, hearing specialists, clinical nurses, an occupational therapist, massage therapist and a de-clutter expert were present at the fair, each providing an interactive station with activities like balance exercises or tests, evaluations of walkers, canes, ears, eyes and medication. Exercise leaders and students from the center provided tai chi and yoga demonstrations, Oak Park Retirement Community provided refreshments and door prizes. The “Matter of Balance” Team from Rufty-Holmes set up a “mock” room with a quiz for identifying fall risks. Rowan Regional Medical Center was a co-sponsor for the event and brought their balance machine. One hundred and twenty older adults, caregivers and providers attended the event, which was coordinated by Senior Center Program Manager Susan Musselman and Senior Center Fitness Director Frances Weant.

Rufty-Holmes is a member of and accredited by the National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC), the nation’s only program committed to supporting and strengthening the country’s 11,000 senior centers.

“Senior centers play a vital role in helping older adults stay healthy, independent and connected to their communities,” said James Firman, president and CEO of NCOA. “We congratulate Rufty-Holmes Senior Center on its innovative programs and hope it can serve as a nationwide model for other senior centers around the country.”

For more information about Rufty-Holmes and its programs for older adults, please visit For more information on the National Institute of Senior Centers, please visit

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