NCBAM reaches out to aging adults through fire and fall preventionby Emily Rojas
On May 20, the Christian Social Services Committee (CSS) of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s Board of Directors (Board) invited representatives of North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry (NCBAM) to conduct a fire and fall prevention training session prior to the meeting of the Board. The training’s purpose was to show Board members how NCBAM equips aging adults to prevent fires and avoidable injuries in their homes.
This program, developed with grants from the National Fire Protection Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is a way to pass on safety training to aging adults who might be concerned about living independently. It is also a way to extend Christ-like care to a lost generation that is aging — 50 million of the 80 million baby boomers do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and churches are faced with the dilemma of how to adequately reach and care for this generation as it gets older.
In an effort to promote safety and independence among aging adults, NCBAM holds fire and fall prevention training sessions across the state and has held more than 50 sessions since the trainings began in January 2013. Unlike this informative session at Caraway, typical sessions take place at senior meetings in churches or community centers.
Carol Layton, administrative and communications manager for NCBAM, said that each training is divided into fire prevention and fall prevention workshops. During these sessions, regional assistants teach participants fire and fall prevention tips, such as wearing tight-fitting sleeves while cooking to prevent fires and smoothing out folds in carpeting to prevent falls.
After each session, NCBAM gives away smoke alarms provided by the Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM). Since last January, NCBAM, in partnership with OSFM, has distributed about 10,000 smoke alarms in North Carolina with the help of more than 1,200 Baptist volunteers.
As the situation stands, however, the number of aging adults who are injured in falls or die in house fires is statistically high. One in three adults older than 60 will not talk to a doctor after a fall, and 23 percent of all people who die in house fires in North Carolina are aging adults. Falls are also the number one reason that aging adults lose their independence, which Layton said was a statistic NCBAM aimed to address. “The mission of NCBAM is to help aging adults remain in their homes as long as possible,” she said.
This topic is particularly relevant to the Board right now — two Board members have aging family members who have fallen in the past month, and they are looking for ways to keep their loved ones safe from future accidents.
Wanda Dellinger, chair of the CSS, said she hoped this training session at Caraway would result in additional training sessions taking place across the state.
“The idea is that if the pastors can not just hear about the training, but actually participate in the training, they’re more likely to go back to their home church and invite NCBAM to do that training within their home church,” she said. “If we know of two people among our board membership that have been impacted this week by falls, how many more are there in our churches that we don’t even know about?