MANSFIELD – Since falls can be fatal for older adults, taking steps towards prevention and building awareness are key, according to Teresa Cook, vice president of marketing and development for the Area Agency on Aging.
This was the goal Tuesday when Walgreens drug stores throughout Ohio, in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Aging and Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging, arranged a Senior Day event with a focus on educating older customers about how to reduce their risk of injury from falls.
“Falls can happen to anyone, but we do know that the older population sometimes has sometimes more consequences than the younger population,” Cook said.
In addition to encouraging individuals to talk to pharmacy staff about fall injury prevention, Walgreens stores distributed informational materials, including a CDC checklist that can help the user measure their fall risk. The tool asks questions such as whether they have fallen in the past year or take medications that make them feel light-headed or drowsy.
Pharmacy staff also had information about local aging services and support available through the Ohio’s 12 area agencies on aging. Customers who are Walgreens Balance Rewards members could receive 1,000 bonus points if they asked a pharmacy staff member about fall injury prevention.
Additionally, members who were age 55 and older or AARP members received 20 percent off eligible, regular-priced merchandise that day.
“Older adult falls are an epidemic in Ohio,” said Beverley L. Laubert, director of the Ohio Department of Aging. “We are proud to foster local relationships that will connect elders to services and supports that can help them remain independent and engaged in their communities.”
The partnership with Walgreens formed earlier this year after the department worked with 400 Ohio-based pharmacies for medication safety week in April.
“Walgreens really stepped up and wanted to help make those connections for older adults who might need some assistance,” Laubert said.
The April event noted how medications can cause dizziness and other side effects that can lead to falls, but it was the sole focus in August for Fall Prevention Awareness Week.
Paul Privara, store manager at Walgreen’s 1000 Park Ave. West location described the partnership as a perfect fit.
“There’s a lot of common ground here,” he said.
In a press release, Alexandra Broadus, Walgreens regional health care director for the region including Ohio, also spoke highly of the partnership.
“As we age, many of the medicines we take to stay healthy may increase our risk of falling,” she said. “Pharmacy staff are uniquely positioned to identify some of the key risk factors for falls, and thanks to our collaboration with the Department of Aging and Ohio’s 12 area agencies on aging, our staff will be able to link individuals to other available assistance.”
The Area Agency on Aging recommends its “A Matter of Balance Workshops” for anyone who fears falling.
“We invite people of all ages to come. You’re going to learn something no matter what your age, just about making your muscles stronger, looking at your environment,” Cook said.
Nearby, upcoming workshops are as follows:
Madison Adult Career Center
5 to 7 p.m. Mondays from Sept. 10 to Nov. 5
Call 419-589-6363 to register.
Marion Senior Center
1 to 3 p.m. Tuesdays from Sept. 4 to Oct. 23
Call 567-247-6503 to register
Mohawk Community Library
9:30 to 11:30 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday from Oct. 16 to Nov. 8
Call 419-294-5733 to register.
Senior Enrichment Services – Norwalk location
9:15 to 11:15 a.m. Wednesdays from Aug. 1 to Sept. 19
Call 419-668-6245 to register.
Wyandot Memorial Hospital
1:30 to 3:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday from Sept. 18 to Oct. 11
Call 419-294-4991 ext. 2236 to register.