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Grants totaling $580,219 have been awarded to organizations for an initiative to prevent falls by people age 65 and older, the president of the Health Foundation for Western & Central New York announced today.

“Falls can have a devastating physical and financial impact on older adults and can often be a trigger of decline that ultimately leads to an inability to remain in one’s own home or even death,” said foundation president Ann F. Monroe. “The good news, though, is that many falls are completely preventable.”

Under the Step Up to Stop Falls Collaborative, groups in seven counties are working on, among other things, projects focused on changing the behaviors and habits of seniors at risk for falls.

Erie County grant recipients are: Brothers of Mercy; Buffalo Rehab Group Physical Therapy; Erie County Department of Senior Services; McAuley Seton Home Care; the Occupational Therapy Department at the University at Buffalo; and Visiting Nurse Association of Western New York.

Community-based coalitions receiving funding include: Allegany/Western Steuben Rural Health Network; Health Community Alliance, Cattaraugus County; GLOW-YMCA and Genesee County Office of the Aging, Genesee County; and DeGraff Hospital - Kaleida Health, Niagara County.

To learn more about Step Up to Stop Falls, visit www.hfwcny.org.