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Preventing falls before they happen through free course by Bozeman Health

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Posted at 5:56 PM, Dec 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-14 15:54:45-05

BOZEMAN — Bozeman Health is offering free fall prevention courses, Stepping On, for older adults for a second year.

The program came about following a review of community needs, and as Laurie Walker, says it’s a growing need in the area the hospital serves.

Laurie Walker is the system manager of community health improvements and partnership at Bozeman Health, and notes that nationwide 28% of adults 45 years or older reported falling at least once, compared to the combined Gallatin, Park and Madison County—35% reported falling at least once.

Walker notes that a reason numbers in Montana are higher than the national average is in part due to the weather we experience. Slush and ice can make for hazardous conditions to walk on.

The leading cause of injury in Gallatin County for adults over the age of 65 is ground-level falls. A simple change can help prevent falls.

The Stepping On course meets weekly for seven weeks to help improve confidence, reduce falls, and reduce the fear of falling. The course focuses on daily strength and balance exercises and discussions on home hazards, medications, and vision.

The injury prevention programs at Bozeman Health are led by Allision Hugus, RN. This pasts fall, Hugus and colleagues facilitated two Stepping On workshops at Bozeman Health Hillcrest Senior Living Aspen Pointe and Bozeman Senior Center. During the fall course, Muriel Mikkelson of Bozeman Senior Center made significant improvements in her balance through her weekly exercises.

Muriel Mikkelson participated in the event, and said that she gained more confidence and balance through the exercises she learned.

“I was afraid to walk because I was so afraid of falling,” Mikkelson said, “There for a while—it was over an 18 month period—I fell 6 times, one was a concussion and I landed in the hospital and the others were just bruising my ribs.”

Mikkelson says that the exercises she’s learned has given her confidence to walk around her home without her walker.

Registration for the 2023 winter course at the Bozeman Senior Center opens in January. Those interested in signing up can contact the Bozeman Senior Center at