By Jodi Marze, Lifestyles Editor
The Picayune Item
PICAYUNE — By Jodi Marze Lifestyles Editor Senior citizens face many dangers, said the speakers at the Did You Know? seminar at the Senior Center, and they sought to give the seniors information to help them navigate the risks. The Community Business Advisory Committee (CBAC) hosted the seminar at the Senior Center on Friday, May 17. The program featured guest speakers from various backgrounds with expertise on topics such as: Medicare, fall prevention, sodium intake, services offered through Mississippi State University Extension Service, as well as personal and financial safety. Jamie Brooke, of St. Joseph Hospice, spoke on tips for fall prevention. “Falls are a big risk to senior citizens; deaths from falls have increased, while deaths from many diseases have decreased,” said Brooke. She told the group that increased risk of falling is due to lack of physical activity, impaired vision, medications, diseases, surgeries and environmental hazards such as pets or clutter. Brooke advised precautions such as installing safety or grab bars in the bath area, using no-stick tape in the tub to prevent slipping, using a riser seat for toilets, installing a stair rail that extends beyond first and last steps and making sure such areas are well lit. She also advised rugs be tacked to the floor to prevent tripping. Another strategy for preventing falls in the home is to arrange furniture in such a way that one can stabilize themselves as they move about. “Make sure something stable is always within reach so you can grab on to it if you misstep,” said Brooke. “Shoes were another reason for falls in the home. “If you are going to go shoeless, make sure you wear non-skid slippers to help with traction,” she said. At the end of her presentation Brooke had those in attendance stand and do a series of simple exercises to improve balance and core stability. Eddie Smith, of MSU Extension Service spoke about various programs the service offers such as the Master Gardener program, where for a nominal fee, members are given classes that result in certification as a Master Gardener. Master Gardeners have group projects they work on in the community and have opportunities to share their knowledge with others through the extension program at places such as The Crosby Arboretum. Of the program, Smith said, “The MSU Pearl River County Extension Service is proud to work with the Senior Center to provide services to seniors that will better their lives.” MSU Extension Dietitian Dawn Vosbein spoke on hidden salt content found in common foods. “This is especially important to people with high blood pressure,” said Vosbein. Vosbein advised simple precautions such as choosing fresh food over processed foods, cooking at home, filling up on veggies and fruits, reading labels on food, as well as gradually weaning off of salt by cutting back a little at a time. “Another way to lower blood pressure is to choose foods high in potassium,” said Vosbein. Senior Center Executive Director Darlene Adams said, “This is the CBAC’s second Did You Know” seminar and once again has been proven a success. The idea came about from one of our CBAC meetings where we were discussing the pitfalls senior citizens sometimes find themselves in because of the lack of knowledge. “Having our professionals from the community talk to our senior citizens about the questions they have or a topic that can assist them in their well-being has been well received. “Having events such as this gives our senior citizens an opportunity to be more informed in today’s changing society. According to our sign-in sheets, we had 92 seniors attend and a total of 109 actually in attendance (including speakers and CBAC members).” EDITOR’S NOTE: The CBAC (Community Business Advisory Committee) was formed to address six community needs: Health & Wellness, Social and Spiritual, Life Resources, Living Resources, Social Resources and Agency Resources with a focus on senior citizen well-being.