NationalFallsPrevention Awareness Day is observed on the first day of fall, Sept. 22, to promote and increase public awareness about how to prevent and reduce falls. Because falling continues to be a leading cause of injury and death in Lee and Collier counties, Lee Memorial Health System and other members of the Lee County Injury Prevention Coalition are hosting a free Tai Chi demonstration to educate the community on ways to help improve balance and prevent falls.
The public is invited to participate in or observe a free Tai Chi class to be held on Saturday, Sept. 22 from 11 a.m. – noon atGulfCoastTownCenter’
Tai Chi has been shown to help improve strength and balance and to reduce falls. The National Council of Aging recently studied the number of falls and functional balance scores of participants of this Tai Chi program and observed significantly fewer falls following the six-month intervention. Study participants showed significant improvements in all measures of functional balance, physical performance, and reduced fear of falling. Intervention gains in these measures were maintained at a 6-month post intervention follow-up in the Tai Chi group.
“Falls are both unintentional and preventable,”
Often the result of a hazard or a precipitating medical event, falls can result in hip fractures, head trauma or even death. From tripping over a computer cord to stumbling down stairs, falls can happen in young children, healthy adults and even athletes. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), falls occur more often in senior adults and are the leading cause of injury deaths in persons over 65 years of age. However, falls are not a normal, natural part of aging.
Studies show that a combination of interventions can significantly reduce falls in the older adult population. Experts recommend the following key steps to reduce the risk of falls:
Begin a regular exercise program
Make your home safer by clearing walkways and hallways
Have your vision checked
Have your health provider review your medications
The “Step WiseLee” initiative began in Sept. 2009 to unite local health care agencies, residents, family and friends to collaborate in preventing falls and fall-related injuries and deaths in Lee County. For a more detailed checklist on how you can help prevent falls and fall-related injuries and deaths, visit www.stepwiselee.com.
The Lee County Injury Prevention Coalition has been working to prevent injuries in Lee County since 1995 under the auspices of the Lee County Health Department. Today the group is composed of more than 80 different health and safety agencies and experts. The coalition is a multi-disciplinary cooperative of private and public partners that include emergency medical services, fire and rescue agencies, law enforcement agencies, hospital outreach programs, health agencies, and public and private schools. This strong partnership provides increased resources, efficiency and consistent delivery of unified safety messages to the public. For more information, visit http://leecountyinjuryprevention.org/