Your Health: Preventing Falls

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Story Updated: Mar 14, 2013

Jefferson County's Public Health Service and the Watertown Housing Authority are teaming up to try reduce the number of falls people over the age of 65 take.

Nationally, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries for people 65 and older, according to a press release from Public Health.

With that in  mind, Public Health is offering six week fall prevention programs at three of the Housing Authority's complexes. The first weekly session - at the Leray and Midtown apartments earlier this week - offered lots of advice.

"Decreased strength, decreased balance is a huge problem," said Julie Ward, a physical therapist..

"Medications can cause falls, environmental things like the way you have your home set up. Lighting is an issue. Throw rugs are a huge issue. If you just scuff your foot and catch your foot on that rug you can fall very, very easily."

You don't have to tell that to Brenda Harmych of Watertown. She took a serious spill in her apartment a year ago.

"I tripped and I just went flying. It snapped my arm in a couple of places," Brenda said.

Experts from Public Health are teaching ways to improve safety in your home, along with exercises to improve strength and balance.

"Do everything you can. Don't sit still - even if it's only five minutes a day, it's much better for you,"
 Ward said.

The program will be offered at Hilltop Towers starting Friday. Residents can sign up in the lobby of their complex or by calling 786-3723.

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