5NEWS Fit: Reducing Risk Of Falling For Older Adults

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Feeling off-balance is a scary thing for many older adults. Many give up activities they enjoy just to reduce their risk of injury, but a new program at Summit Medical Center in Van Buren is teaching senior citizens how to beat their fear of falling and stay active.

Albert O’Donnell does physical therapy twice a week at Summit.

"Just getting older, you notice that sometimes you have balance problems," O’Donnell said.

He, like many his age; know a fall could lead to serious injury. Director of rehabilitation at Summit, Leann Karnes, said falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries in older adults. According to Karnes, adults over the age of 65 have one in three risk of falling over the course of a year. After reach 75-years-old or older, that increases to one in two.

"While it's good to be concerned, you don't want to have the fear that decreases your mobility, which can continue to decrease your activity and increase your risk of falls," Karnes said.

She said there is good news; falls don't have to be a part of aging. That's why O’Donnell said he stays active and does physical therapy.

"It concerns me that I don't recognize problem areas that I have," O’Donnell said.

Starting this week, Summit Medical Center will hold an eight week program called "A Matter of Balance-Reducing Your Fall Risk." The seminars are free and open to the public. Throughout the program, seniors will learn how to increase strength and balance and how to make changes in their homes to reduce the risk of injury.