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Bozeman Health offers a free education to help people prevent falls before they occur



Bozeman, Montana – For a second year, Bozeman Health is providing older folks with free access to the Stepping On fall prevention program.

The program was developed after an evaluation of the requirements of the community, and according to Laurie Walker, there is an increasing demand in the region the hospital serves.

According to Laurie Walker, who oversees community health partnerships and improvements at Bozeman Health, 35% of adults in Gallatin, Park, and Madison counties reported falling at least once, compared to 28% of adults 45 and older statewide.

Walker claims that our local weather is in part to blame for the fact that numbers in Montana are higher than the national average. Ice and slush can make for dangerous walking surfaces.

Ground-level falls are the most common reason for injury in Gallatin County for persons over the age of 65. A small adjustment can reduce the risk of falls.

The Stepping On course meets once a week for seven weeks with the goal of boosting self-assurance, lowering falls, and lowering fear of falling. The course emphasizes regular strength and balance drills as well as lectures on household dangers, drugs, and vision.

Allision Hugus, an RN, oversees the Bozeman Health injury prevention initiatives. Hugus and his coworkers led two Stepping On courses this past fall at the Bozeman Senior Center and Bozeman Health Hillcrest Senior Living Aspen Pointe. Through her weekly workouts, Muriel Mikkelson of the Bozeman Senior Center significantly improved her balance throughout the autumn semester.

Muriel Mikkelson took part in the activity and reported that the exercises helped her to feel more balanced and confident.

“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.”

According to Mikkelson, the movements she has learned have given her the self-assurance to move about her house without a walker.

The Bozeman Senior Center will open registration in January for the winter course of 2023. Contact the Bozeman Senior Center at if you’re interested in joining up.

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