Marymount University highlight national falls prevention awareness week

Virginia

ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — National Fall Prevention Awareness Week is September 21st-25th and Marymount University is making it their mission to continue their work on older adult fall prevention grants.

Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall-related injury. Over the past four years, the university along with local senior living organizations have taken on two federal grants totaling over $1 million to reduce the number of falling incidents among older adults in Northern Virginia.

Rita Wong Associate Vice President for Research, Marymount University said, “With falls people think they’re inevitable and they’re not. The majority of falls can be avoided with simple activities.”

Sara Pappa, an assistant professor at Marymount University said, specific types of exercise have been demonstrated to be effective in decreasing the risk. Evidence based programs tend to be more structured and require specific training of exercise leaders, which can be difficult to incorporate into general community exercise programs with small budgets.

“Our overall goal with the grant and the alliance is making sure that every older adult has access to a evidence based falls prevention program. so whether that be in person or virtually, in an ideal world every person who needs a program such as this has access to it” said Pappa.

The grant has helped older adult community groups establish programs like, Stay Active and Independent for Life (SAIL), a strength, balance and fitness program for older adults who are at low moderate risk for falling. Also Matter of Balance, which features small group sessions led by a trained facilitator designed to reduce the fear of falling and familiarize older adults with balanced focused exercise activities. Lastly a Otago Exercise Program, a series of strength and balance exercises targeting older adults at high risk for falling, implemented under the guidance of a physical therapist.

For more information about decreasing your chance of a fall, you can take a survey here.

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