Atlanta, GA,
08
September
2014
|
03:00 PM
America/New_York

Shepherd Center to Host Workshop on Prevention of Falls

To raise awareness and help prevent older adults from falling, Shepherd Center is hosting a fall prevention workshop on Friday, Sept. 26 from 12:30 to 4 p.m. in the auditorium on the hospital’s seventh floor.

The event is being offered at no charge, and lunch is included. In addition to adults ages 55 and older, professionals interested in older adult safety are invited to attend.

With the theme “Strong Today, Falls Free for Tomorrow,” the workshop will include demonstrations, health checks, screenings and practical tips.

“In Georgia, injuries from falls are one of the top reasons for emergency room visits,” said Emma Harrington, MSPS, Ed.M., director of injury prevention and education services at Shepherd Center and the coordinator of the workshop. In addition, statistics from the Centers for Disease Control show that two-thirds of traumatic brain injuries among people 65 and older are caused by falls.

“Falling is not a natural part of aging,” Harrington said. “We want participants to come away with an understanding that they can take control to prevent falls. We will also provide evidence-based best practices on fall prevention for the professionals who attend.”

Causes for falls among older adults include medication interactions and faulty eyeglass prescriptions, which could cause dizziness and disorientation; hazards in the home, such as throw rugs and clutter on stairs; improper footwear and balance issues, Harrington noted.

The workshop will be set up much like a health fair, with different tables that participants can visit to get various health checks, such as blood pressure and blood sugar readings, medication reviews, and vision and hearing screenings.

In addition, community volunteers from various organizations will be conducting fall risk assessments by observing such things as how participants get in and out of a chair and how they walk, as well as gathering information about their home environment.

The event will also feature demonstrations of Tai Chi, as well as exercises from the “A Matter of Balance” program created by the National Council on Aging and offered by Shepherd Center. Both activities are designed to strengthen balance.

The fear of falling can also have social consequences. “It is important for older adults to stay connected to their communities,” Harrington said. “If they have a fear of falling, they limit their activities and may be afraid to leave their homes. As a result, they are not as social and may become isolated.”

In addition to Shepherd Center, partners of the event include the Georgia Department of Public Health, Atlanta Regional Commission, Georgia Department of Human Services’ Division of Aging Services and Falls Free, the National Council on Aging’s fall prevention program.

People interested in attending the workshop should RSVP to Emma Harrington at Emma_Harrington@Shepherd.org or Elizabeth Head at Elizabeth.head@dph.ga.gov. Or, you may call 404-352-2020 to reach Harrington by phone.

For more information on Shepherd Center’s injury prevention program, visit www.shepherd.org/resources/injuryprevention.

About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 900 inpatients, 575 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year.