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Senior Center Open House and Senior Fall Prevention Day set for Sept. 21

September 12, 2011
  • A Senior Center Open House and Senior Fall Prevention Day will feature assessments, educational presentations, exercise demonstrations, information on community resources for seniors, light refreshments and prizes.
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More than 1,200 Marylanders die every year because of a fall, according to the National Council on Aging. In fact, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths among people older than 65 and the leading cause of doctor visits, hospitalizations and emergency room visits.

"Although the risk for falls increases with age, falls should not be considered a natural part of the aging process," according to Mary McPherson, A Matter of Balance Program Director at Washington County Health Department. "Most falls are preventable and there are things that you can do to dramatically reduce your risk at any age."

To recognize Senior Fall Prevention Week, Sept. 18 through 24, a Senior Center Open House and Senior Fall Prevention Day event will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, at the Senior Center at Girls Inc., 626 Washington Ave., Hagerstown.

The free event will include health screenings and assessments, educational presentations, exercise demonstrations, information on community resources for seniors, light refreshments and prizes. Seniors are encouraged to bring their unused or expired prescription as well as over the counter medications with them to the event for proper disposal.

The Washington County Health Department also offers A Matter of Balance, a free, nationally recognized program that is designed to reduce the fear of falling and increase activity levels among older adults.

McPherson offers five easy things older adults can do to prevent falls:

1. Increase your physical activity. Simple exercise, like walking or swimming at least 15 minutes a day can help build muscle strength and improve balance, which can prevent falls. Exercise programs like tai chi, which increase strength and improve balance, are especially good.

2. See your eye doctor yearly. Age-related eye diseases, such as cataracts, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, can increase the risk of falling. Early detection is key to minimizing the effects of these conditions.

3. Review your medications. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the medicines you are taking and whether they may cause drowsiness or dizziness. Discuss things you can do to ensure you are taking your medicines safely.

4. Make environmental modifications. Look around the house for anything that could increase the risk of falls, including poor lighting, loose rugs, slippery floors and unsteady furniture. Install grab bars and other assistive devices as needed.

5. Think, plan and slow down. Many falls are caused by hurrying. Slow down and think through the task you are performing. Be mindful of possible fall risks and act accordingly.

For more information about this event or how seniors can participate in A Matter of Balance, call the Washington County Health Department at 240-313-3349.



If you go ...

What: Senior Center Open House and Senior Fall Prevention Day

When: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21

Where: Senior Center at Girls Inc., 626 Washington Ave., Hagerstown.

Cost: Free

MORE: An eight-session Matter of Balance program begins from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Oct. 18. Participants should attend all sessions in October and November. To register, call 240-313-3360.

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