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LOTS OF LOVE: Valley students help elderly avoid falls

More than 4,000 "Don’t Fall for Me" valentines were colored by students of 14 school districts in Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana and Ashtabula counties.

YOUNGSTOWN — The Ohio Department of Aging, with assistance from Direction Home of Eastern Ohio, asked area educators to help spread the message to children that falls can be much more serious for older adults as part of the Don’t Fall for Me valentine campaign.

Students were presented a lesson on how they can help their grandparents, aunts, uncles and other relatives by picking up their toys and clutter, turning on lights, picking up loose rugs, clearing a path in the snow and offering to take a walk with their loved one to get exercise — all suggestions to help prevent falls. 

Students also were asked to color valentines to be delivered to assisted-living facilities. Each valentine has a list of falls prevention tips on the back, so the seniors have a reference to the information.

More than 4,000 valentines were colored by students in Mahoning (Austintown, New Middletown, Youngstown, Poland, Holy Family, Child First Day Care), Trumbull (Girard, Howland, Warren, Lakeview, Brookfield), Columbiana (Crestview, Salem) and Ashtabula (Ridgeview) counties. The staff at Direction Home of Eastern Ohio worked to distribute the valentines to every assisted-living resident in the four-county region by Valentine’s Day. 

“The way the community came together to accomplish this was remarkable,” Cassandra Valentini, Direction Home of Eastern Ohio’s agency community liaison, said in a news release. “Students from schools across our public service region were such a big help, and the seniors are thrilled to have a valentine from a child for Valentine’s Day.”

The Don’t Fall for Me, Valentine campaign is a project through The Ohio Department of Aging’s Steady U Ohio program. The program is a statewide, collaborative falls-prevention initiative supported by Ohio government and state business partners to ensure that every county, every community and every Ohioan knows how they can prevent falls. Direction Home of Eastern Ohio runs a free Steady U Wellness course called Matter of Balance. For class dates, 330-505-2300.