Holston Valley Helping Community With Valuable Information At Free Classes On Preventing Falls

Falls can severely limit a person's quality of life and even lead to death, making it essential for people of all ages to take appropriate precautions.

Holston Valley Medical Center is empowering the community with valuable information about ways to avoid falls. The hospital is offering free classes the second Wednesday of every month from 9:30-10:30 a.m. on the second floor of Sullivan Center Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy, located at the Holston Valley Outpatient Center on the Eastman Outpatient Campus at 103 W. Stone Drive.

"We're pleased to offer this beneficial resource for the community as part of our commitment to people's wellness and safety," said Meg Foster, Holston Valley's director of inpatient rehabilitation. "Falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths in older adults, and we want to help our community by assisting anyone who is at risk. These classes can be an important way for people to learn meaningful tips to minimize their potential to fall."

Consider a few other statistics Foster highlights:

  • Nearly one third of adults 65 and older will fall this year.
  • About 30 percent of people who fall will sustain a moderate or severe injury.
  • Many people need at least a year to recover from injuries and often have to be admitted to a long-term care facility.

"Unfortunately, some people can never return to their home," Foster said. "That's why it is essential for people to learn their risk factors, the No. 1 being weakness in the legs and hips."

Other factors include being 65 and older, living alone, taking more than four medications a day and having difficulty walking or maintaining balance, she said. Foster said people with anxiety, depression or a fear of falling are also at risk.

She said someone who has a fear of falling tends to become less active, leading to muscle weakness, particularly in the legs.

People can take many steps to reduce their risk to fall, including exercising and making modifications to their residence, Foster said. She said one of the simplest and most helpful ideas is to ensure stairs have proper lighting.

The monthly classes are open to anyone who has fallen or is interested in preventing falls for themselves or a family member. Holston Valley's physical and occupational therapists teach the sessions.

No physician referral is necessary for the classes, but people need to preregister by calling Wellmont Nurse Connection at 1-877-230-NURSE (6877).