Seniors Discuss Impact of Affordable Care Act at Awareness Event

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COLUMBIA - The Missouri Orthopedic Institute was one of several places that participated in a Falls Prevention Awareness event Monday.

"Missouri has some of the highest fall rates in the country," said physical therapist Carmen Casanouca-Abbott.

Fall screenings started five years ago and across the state of Missouri. Now there are approximately 50 to 70 screening sites. Those sites are sponsored by the Missouri Falls Free Coalition. 

Abbott said health clinicians are trying to spread the word more.

"Research has shown if you do simple interventions, it will have a huge impact on the rate of falling...and by performing fall screenings for individuals...this will decease fall incidents by 30 percent."

With open enrollment for insurance beginning October 1, as a result of the Affordable Care Act, many senior citizens said they will be affected. KOMU 8 News asked several participants at Monday's screening whether they knew what the Affordable Care Act was. Many didn't know what it was.

Peak Performance physical therapist Alyssa Toalson said once people fall and need physical therapy they will be at a loss with the Affordable Care Act because, "Once they hit the cap, and Medicare has payed that amount, most people will have to pay out of pocket and most people on Medicaid cannot afford it and they will not come in any longer."

Marie Blodgett is one of the many people that went through the fall screening exercises and said she would be at a loss if she fell again. "I don't know what I would do if I get through all the tests and wonderful things and I find out I get nothing, I don't know," Blodgett said.

Steps to prevent falling, according to the Center for Disease Control include:

  • Get some exercise
  • Be mindful of medications
  • Keep your vision sharp
  • Removing hazards at home
  • Sign up for A Matter of Balance

To find a local Area Agency of Aging call 1-877-ElDERS-1.