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Oshkosh Fire Department offers free app to senior citizens for fall prevention

Oshkosh Fire Department offers free app to senior citizens for fall prevention

Source: Canva

March 29, 2024 8:24 AM CDT
By: Lisa M. Hale

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OSHKOSH, WI – (WISS) – Falls are the leading cause of injuries and injury-related deaths among adults ages 65 and older. Oshkosh senior citizens have access to a free fall prevention app, thanks to a partnership between the Oshkosh Fire Department and Denver-based company, Nymbl.

Mike Stanley, Oshkosh Fire Chief, said that falls are the number one reason for calls to the fire department.

“Twenty percent of our overall call volume is for people that have fallen down,” said Stanley. “Much more significantly than we respond to fires, to heart attacks, car accidents, traumatic injuries – We are going on fall calls more often than not.”

Stanley says that by partnering with the Nymbl app, he hopes that will reduce the number of fall calls the department receives.

“Clearly, that’s one of the biggest risks, if not the biggest risk, in the Oshkosh community, is our aging community and people 60 and older are falling down several times a day,” said Stanley. 

A fire chief’s conference was the setting for the initial meeting of Oshkosh and the Colorado company.

“Myself and many others in the room were really intrigued by the potential for it and the results they’d seen in some of the fire departments they’d done pilot programs with in the Colorado and Denver area,” said Stanely. “We reached out and connected to them and we’ve been working about a year to bring this to fruition.”

The balance training mobile app helps older residents improve their balance and avoid the risk of serious injury through falling. Oshkosh residents who are 60 or older, can get the Nymbl app for free on their smartphones and tablets. They also can register online at enroll.nymblscience.com.

The app allows you to chart your progress, provide information to your physician, and even has components of fun with cognitive improvement games and activities.

Stanley said that there are over 80 people that are signed up to the app, so far. Information about the Nymbl app will go out with residents’ water bills in April. One of the best things about the app is that it will help residents improve their balance at home.

“So many of them, have transportation issues,” said Stanley. “So this addresses that transportation issue. ‘I can do this from my home. I can do this from my living room. I don’t have to worry about securing a ride to go somewhere.’”  

According to the Centers for Disease Control,  more than 14 million older adults report falling every year in the U.S. Additionally, $50 billion is spent on medical costs related to falls annually. Wisconsin has the highest fall death rate in the U.S. in people 65 and older. The state saw more than 1,700 fall-related deaths in 2021.

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