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Falls are the leading cause of injury and death among those ages 65 and older. In 2008, 2.1 million non-fatal fall injuries among older adults were treated in emergency departments, resulting in more than 559,000 hospitalizations. Twenty to thirty percent of people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries such as laceration, hip fractures or head traumas. Even if no injuries occur after a fall, many people develop a fear of falling, which in turn often causes them to limit their activities. This can result in reduced mobility and loss of physical conditioning, increasing their risk of falling.

Stepping On is a program that empowers older adults to carry out healthy behaviors that reduce the risks of falls. It is a community-based workshop offered once a week for seven weeks using adult education and self-efficacy principles. In a small-group setting, older adults learn balance exercises and develop specific knowledge and skills to prevent falls. Workshops are facilitated by two trained leaders. Guest speakers, including a physical therapist, vision expert, community safety expert, pharmacist and past participants, offer their expertise in falls prevention. The curriculum is centered on balance-building exercises and strength- building exercises and ways to keep people safe from falls in their homes and in the community.

Atlantic General Hospital has been offering the Stepping On Program in the community since early 2012. The next course, offered at the Indian River Senior Center in Millsboro, DE, will be on Fridays from September 26, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., through November 7. This is open to the public and free to all. Registration is required. To register, or for more information, call Dawn at 410-641-9268.

About Atlantic General Hospital

Atlantic General Hospital has been providing quality health care to the residents of Worcester, Wicomico, Somerset (Md.) and Sussex (Del.) counties since May 1993. Built by the commitment and generosity of a dedicated community, the hospital’s state-of-the-art facility in Berlin, Md., combines old-fashioned personal attention with the latest in technology and services. It provides quality specialty care such as weight loss surgery, orthopedics, outpatient infusion for individuals with cancer or blood/autoimmune disorders, retina surgery and a comprehensive women’s diagnostic center. Atlantic General Health System, its network of more than 40 primary care providers and specialists, care for residents and visitors throughout the region. For more information about Atlantic General Hospital,