Prevention Project for the Elderly Wins Training Scholarships

Fairfax County Department of Family Services
Adult and Aging Division

12011 Government Center Parkway
Fairfax, VA 22035-1102
News Release 0407

November 6, 2007

A Fairfax County project that helps older people and people with disabilities avoid falls, prevent home fires and live independently was awarded scholarships to send two project members to the National Fire Protection Association's training conference in Boston, Mass. from December 2 to 4, 2007.

Mary Cramer, life safety educator, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department Life Safety Education Section, and Jennifer Edge, LCSW, project coordinator of ElderLink's Independent Living Project, will be attending the training.

ElderLink is a partnership between the Department of Family Services' Adult and Aging Division and Inova Health System.

The training conference is entitled, Remembering When: a Fire and Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults. It was developed by the association's Center for High-Risk Outreach in recognition of the fact that, “adults 65 and older are twice as likely to be killed in a fire compared to the population at large,” said Sharon Gamache, executive director of the center. In addition, she said, “falls are the leading cause of death from injuries in this group.”

The training will bolster a collaboration that is already underway between the two agencies to prevent accidents and increase the opportunity of county seniors to remain independent.

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department's Public Affairs and Life Safety Education Section provides education programs targeted to high risk groups in the county's uniquely diverse communities including very young children and older adults.

The Independent Living Project sponsors a series of workshops and classes on maintaining safety and independence to elderly people and people with disabilities in specific areas of the county. As part of the project, the county's Fire and Rescue Department conducts fall prevention workshops.

In addition, the Independent Living Project offers in-home reviews by geriatric social workers. Social workers evaluate the older person's home for risks to independence and then offer advice on how to create safer homes and access community services.

The Independent Living Project was launched last winter in the county's Franconia area where over 300 older adults participated. A new series of programs for the Annandale and Falls Church areas is slated to begin this fall.

The project is a collaborative effort of ElderLink, the Fairfax County Department of Family Services' Adult and Aging Division, the Fairfax County  Department of Community and Recreation Services, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, the Fairfax County Health Department and Inova Health System.

For more information on the Independent Living Project call Catherine Cole at 703/324-5377.

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Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability
in all county programs, services and activities.
Reasonable accommodations will be provided upon request.

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Fairfax County Department of Family Services
[ 12011 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035 ]
[ 703-324-7500 ]

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