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Monthly Village Newsletter [May, 2024]

From Frank Finamore (Executive Director, Cleveland & Woodley Park Village)

I try not to have regrets in life, but I do have some things I’d change if I could turn back the clock. One of those things has to do with when my mother fell. I remember it vividly. It was during the pandemic, but later, when we were comfortable going out to eat on a patio. It was a Sunday evening and we’d settled on going out to eat and were getting ready to go. My sweet, sweet dog, Rosie, thought she was going too and got excited. When Rosie ran past my mother, then aged 91 and without a walker or cane, mom was startled and despite my being only a few feet away, I could only watch as mom wobbled and then fell onto the hardwood floor, mere inches from the padded rug in the living room.

My mother cracked her femur and we elected to undergo surgery, as bearing weight on her leg was quite painful.  Though she came through the surgery well, I believe the hospitalization contributed to the quick progression of her dementia.  It’s been a steady decline ever since that fateful July day.

The point of sharing this story is to highlight the need to do everything that one can to prevent falls. Unfortunately, more than 30 million older Americans fall every year. This equates to one fall every second of every day. In fact,1 in every 4 older adults fall each year. 7 million people are injured and for many, falls herald the end of independence. After just one fall, 70% of people express a fear of falling, which can lead to reduced engagement and social isolation. This, in turn causes other health issues.

I truly hope that you will join us on Monday, April 29th at 1pm in the lower-level meeting room of the Cleveland Park library to view the documentary, Saving Claire, which explores the complex nature of aging, resistance to change and all the relatable patterns that increase fall risk. After the documentary screening there will be a lively interactive discussion and Q&A with local experts: first responders, physical therapists, and occupational therapists, etc. This event is free and open to everyone, but registration is required. To register, simply call the Village office at 202-615-5853 or click here.

Also this month, we will feature a virtual educational session on the ins and outs of hiring home care aides. On May 9th from 7-8:15 pm via Zoom, Christine Bitzer, LICSW and Director of Seabury Resources for Aging’s Care Management Team, will discuss how to plan for care, how to know when it’s appropriate to hire assistance, and the considerations when choosing either a home care agency or an individual. Again, this event is free and open to everyone, but registration is required. To register, call the Village office at 202-615-5853 or click here.

There will be two follow-up sessions (to be scheduled.) The next session will feature various home care providers discussing their agency’s services, scheduling, and pricing.  The final session will feature community members that have hired individual caregivers, either as employees or contractors and their experiences. The goal of these sessions is to give older adults, and anyone else interested in the topic, an understanding of the role of home health aides, various local options, and considerations when choosing a provider. This series is open to anyone interested.

Finally, all of these educational programs involve getting more information and planning. I believe, that by thinking ahead, we actually broaden our options if something unfortunate were to happen. We’re ready and have thoughts about what to do next rather than making important decisions in the midst of a crisis.


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