On May 20, the Christian Social Services Committee (CSS) of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s Board of Directors (BOD) invited representatives of North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry (NCBAM) to conduct a fire and fall prevention training session prior to the board meeting. The training’s purpose was to show how NCBAM equips aging adults to prevent fires and 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.
Sandy Gregory shares across the state about the North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry (NCBAM). NCBAM helps seniors stay in their homes longer by coordinating volunteers to build ramps as well as to visit seniors, install fall prevention devices and smoke detectors and provide for caregivers.
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. Typical sessions take place at senior meetings in churches or community centers.
Carol Layton, administrative and communications manager for NCBAM, said each training is divided into fire prevention and fall prevention workshops. During the 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.
“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,” said Wanda Dellinger, chair of the CSS. “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?”