Older adults learn about preventing falls
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GREENSBORO - This is Falls Prevention Awareness Week in North Carolina. Dozens of older adults gathered at an event Friday where they learned some tips to stay on their feet and prevent injuries.
Falls among older adults can be serious business.
"Just in Guilford County alone, we see 1,300 people every year in the emergency department due to falls," said Cone Health injury prevention coordinator Leigha Shepler.
Medical conditions often are the trigger. The Guilford County Fall Prevention Coalition's half-day event included screenings for conditions including osteoporosis and high or low blood pressure.
"It's a balance issue,” said Richard Bober, owner of ComForcare Home Care. “A lot of times if you have high or low blood pressure you can be dizzy or lightheaded, especially when you go from a sitting position to a standing position and then if you take a step too quickly you could get off balance."
Older adults' greater use of medications also can bring be problematic.
"If they're running into bouts of dizziness, things like that throughout the day, maybe we can tell them to take things at night or maybe we can say, alright, that's a med you want to bring up with your doctor. You've only noticed that since you taking it," said Jordan Smith, a pharmacist at Moses Cone Hospital.
Shepler said once a person falls they often become afraid they'll fall again, causing them to restrict the physical activity that is key to prevention.
"That in turn makes them more likely to fall, so, it's like a vicious cycle and we really need to break that cycle," she said.
Older adults who stay active are more likely to keep their health and their independence longer.
"If you fall that could lead to other complications and could eventually lead to death,” said the Greensboro Senior Center's Tiffany Mumford. “So, stay active, stay moving and just fight. Keep fighting."