Katharine’s Story: Falls Prevention is Key to Staying Independent


Katharine exercising

A lifelong fitness buff, 87-year-old Katharine regularly attends free gentle exercise classes offered by Community Support Connections – Meals on Wheels and More (CSC) at her Cambridge retirement home. The classes are held on site three days a week, along with rotating falls prevention education sessions.

Katharine joined her late husband, Ross, in the retirement home just before her scheduled hip replacement surgery in 2014. After having the procedure, she was determined to stay independent and preventing a fall was at the top of her list.

“My biggest worry is having a fall. If I broke a wrist, or my arm, that would change my life. In the meantime, I’m working on it.” 

Using the national, evidence based SMART™ (Seniors Maintaining Active Roles Together) program as its framework, the classes help participants improve their functional fitness with the goal of increased independence.

Not only did she commit to attending exercise class as often as she could post-surgery, but she was also caring for her husband who was in the long-term care wing at the time. After attending morning class she would head back downstairs to spend time with him, by reading to him or helping him with his lunch.  

Health and wellness was always an important part of their lives, and Katharine is committed to carrying their shared passion for fitness forward. She credits CSC’s Gentle Exercise and Falls Prevention programming as vital to staying strong and healthy. Since starting the classes she has been able to get out for walks more often.

“There’s not a part of your body that doesn’t benefit from exercise,” she said.

Katharine's portraitKatharine is very enthusiastic about CSC’s falls prevention sessions, learning practical prevention tips she can implement in her daily life. Over a six-week period, one of CSC’s Registered Kinesiologists joins the exercise class to discuss topics related to reducing the risk of a fall and also offers clients one-on-one support. She especially enjoyed the kinesiologist-led demonstration of how to use her walker and cane properly to reduce her risk of falling.

“I was just amazed. I have done the program twice, and you get so much information.”

Katharine intends to participate in the program for a third time, because she knows learning about fall risk factors and how to reduce those risks plays a major role in falls prevention. She is willing to do whatever she can to reach her goal.

“I really want to stay independent as long as possible,” said Katharine.

CSC is privileged to be helping clients like Katharine stay independent in their own homes. By offering a variety of group and in-home exercise programs at more than 90 sites across Waterloo Region, CSC is dedicated to helping participants improve their functional fitness enabling them to live at home with independence and dignity.

The Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network provides funding of more than $500,000 to provide 800,000 exercise and falls prevention classes in more than 200 locations to benefit residents throughout Waterloo Wellington. More than 8,300 residents have benefitted from this program.

For more information about CSC’s Gentle Exercise and Falls Prevention programming,
please call 519-772-8787 or visit their website at www.communitysupportconnections.org.