This week’s spotlight highlights KCHD’s Senior Fall Prevention and SAIL Programs
The Knox County Health Department (KCHD) will offer free balance screenings, by appointment only, at the John T. O’Conner Senior Center (611 Winona Street) from 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, June 1 to celebrate the return of the Stay Active and Independent for Life (SAIL) program with the help of Benchmark Physical Therapy, Knox County Senior Safety Task Force, and CAC Office on Aging. SAIL classes will resume on June 8.
SAIL is an evidence-based, independent-instructor led program for seniors that includes exercise classes, education, and fitness assessments designed to increase strength and balance, which has been proven to be helpful in preventing falls among adults age 65+. The program seeks to help improve quality of life and help maintain independence as long as possible.
To learn more, view an example of a SAIL class, and hear testimonials from seniors who have participated, visit KCHD’s Senior Fall Prevention Program webpage.
“Falls continue to be a major health risk for older adults, often causing injuries, and reducing their ability to live independently,” said KCHD Public Health Educator Rachel Frazier. “This balance screening will help participants be aware of their balance and how they can improve. This event will also serve as an excellent kick-start to future SAIL classes, and we couldn’t be more grateful to the continued support from our exceptional partners.”
Those interested in scheduling a screening or attending the O’Conner Center classes should call 865-523-1135.
As senior centers reopen for classes, programming will vary so constituents are encouraged to call their closest center to check availability. A list of participating senior centers in Knox County is available on the KCHD webpage.
According to KCHD’s Community Health Assessment (CHA), the direct medical costs nationally of falls across the U.S. health care system is $50 billion per year. Locally, in 2017, falls caused 68 deaths and more than 4,900 hospital visits among adults ages 65 and over in Knox County. Further, Knox County’s death rate from falls among adults ages 65 and older more than doubled from 2015 to 2017.
In addition to supporting the SAIL classes, KCHD’s Senior Fall Prevention program works with community partners to address this issue by providing education on how to prevent falls, lower risk for unintentional injuries, and improve balance.
During the pandemic, KCHD adapted its SAIL training method to include online resources, allowing for a more expansive outreach. For more information on SAIL instructor training, please contact KCHD Health Educator Rachel Frazier at 865-215-5175 or Rachel.Frazier@knoxcounty.org.