Lee County Injury Prevention Coalition hosts Tai Chi demonstration to promote better balance, falls prevention
Falls continue to be the leading cause of injury and death for people 65 and older in Lee County. Since January 2012, Lee Memorial Trauma Centerhas treated 315 senior patients for injuries related to falls, with 20 people dying from their injuries.
To increase public awareness about ways to prevent and reduce falls, 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, Dec. 1 from 11 a.m. – noon atGulfCoastTownCenter’sUniversityPlazalocated in front of Dick’s sporting goods. In addition, health care experts with the Lee County Injury Prevention Coalition’s Step WiseLee program will provide tips on ways to prevent falls.
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 a 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.
“Risk factors associated with falls include poor balance, lack of mobility and loss of muscle strength,” says Mark Tesoro, Injury Prevention Educator/Analyst for Trauma Services at Lee Memorial Health System. “Tai Chi offers a great way for people to stay active and improve balance and strength. Through education, risk assessment and free health care screenings, we continue to raise awareness of preventive measures that can keep seniors safe inLeeCounty.”
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 LeeCounty. 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. 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/.