FARMINGTON — In coordination with National Physical Therapy Month, the Franklin Memorial Hospital Physical Therapy department is offering a falls risk screening program on Tuesday, Oct. 23, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Allen Room at Franklin Memorial Hospital. Participants can drop by at any time during the event to have a screening performed, receive education on the topic and learn about exercises that can reduce the risk of falls.

Falls among the elderly are prevalent, dangerous and can diminish their ability to lead an active and independent life. According to the National Aging Council, about one in three seniors above age 65, and nearly one in two seniors over age 80, will fall at least once this year, many times with disastrous consequences

Staff performing the screening include Loralie Franklin, Jon Abell and Misty Dexter. A physical therapist can help those at risk prevent falls by designing an individualized program of exercises and activities with an emphasis on strength, flexibility and proper gait.

According to Franklin, who is one of the program’s organizers, anyone who has three or more of the following characteristics is at risk of falling: age over 65; a fall in the past three months; ingesting more than four medications daily; decreased balance; incontinence; foot problems; wearing supportive shoes; experiencing dizziness when one stands or changes positions; difficulty walking, and poor vision.

“Once a physical therapist has performed the screening, he or she will teach specific strengthening and balance exercises that can be performed at home. This may also include a walking regimen with balance components such as changes in surfaces/terrains, distance and elevations,” said Franklin.

If necessary, the physical therapist will refer participants to other medical professionals, such as an ophthalmologist or neurologist.

For more information, contact the Physical Rehabilitation Department at 779-2620.

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