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Council on Aging has several wellness programs that reduce the risks of falls

By Angel Dennison
Posted Tuesday, February 24, 2009

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Pittsboro, NC - Falls are the number one accidental cause of death among older adults.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "falls are the leading cause of injury deaths among adults age 65 and older. One in three adults age 65 and older falls each year. It is estimated that approximately 17 percent of older North Carolinians experienced a fall in the past three months, with one-third of those falls resulting in an injury."

For Chatham County, these statistics indicate that approximately 2,800 older adults fall each year. 1,500 older adults have fallen in the past three months and 500 have suffered injuries as a result of falling.

The Council on Aging has several wellness programs that reduce the risks of falls:

1. Exercise - we offer a variety of group and individual exercise programs, including balance screenings, physical therapy referrals and "brain health" exercises, that are targeted at reducing falls risks.

2. Medication reviews - our Medical Director, local pharmacists and Pharmacology students at UNC collaborate with us to provide medication reviews to identify possible interactions that might cause dizziness or other falls risks.

3. Medication - for people who cannot afford to take medicine as prescribed, we provide access to Medicare insurance specialists (not representing insurance companies) and to low cost prescription programs.

4. Home trips and falls hazards - our staff can conduct a "walk through" to help identify trip hazards in homes. Our minor home repair program can help arrange for and pay for minor repairs that improve the health and safety of homes.

5. Vision and other health screenings - we offer a range of health screenings, including vision and blood pressure, at our health fairs and in the senior centers.

6. Assistive devices - we "recycle" canes, walkers, wheelchairs for the community and provide grab bars, shower seats, toilet chairs and other devices. These devices should "fit" well so in addition to loaning them to people who need them, and having them installed if necessary, we can refer people to a physical therapist for proper "fitting."

If you or someone you know could benefit from falls prevention programs, please contact me at or 542 -4512.

These programs are funded through client contributions, private donations, Chatham County, and Older Americans Act funding. The Council on Aging is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit agency established in 1974.

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