An estimated 90,000 visitors stroll, amble, walk, dash, and sprint through Washington DC's Union Station every day. To help ensure that fewer visitors fall -- in the station and elsewhere -- the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) and its Foundation for Health in Aging (FHA) will be offering free falls screening and falls prevention and other senior health information in the station's main hall May 2.

The program will coincide with the Society's April 30- May 4 Annual Scientific Meeting in DC. The meeting is the premier conference on aging research. More than a third of adults 65 and older fall each year, and falls are the leading cause of injuries -- including fatal injuries -- among older Americans. Screening for and addressing falls risks can help prevent these injuries.

The May 2 program, "Get Up & Go: A Falls Prevention Program," will run from 10 AM to 7 PM. AGS' medical student, resident and trainee members will man booths set up in the main hall and conduct free tests for falls, including the Timed Get Up and Go test. This simple test, which was found to be particularly effective in screening older adults for risks of falls in a study that will be presented at the meeting on May 2, measures how long it takes to get up from a chair, walk about 10 feet, turn around, and return to the chair. Because many factors contribute to falls, however, a comprehensive assessment of fall risk may require several tests, the authors of the study conclude.

At Union Station, AGS and FHA volunteers will also distribute information about the services the organizations provide to older adults and their caregivers, and a new, easy-to-follow FHA "tip sheet" (available here) offering older adults and their caregivers advice on preventing falls.

The screening program is a joint project of AGS and the AGS/Association of Directors of Geriatric Academic Programs (ADGAP) education committees.

About AGS

Founded in 1942, the American Geriatrics Society is a nationwide, not-for-profit association of geriatrics health care professionals dedicated to improving the health, independence and quality of life of all older people. The Society supports this mission through activities in clinical practice, professional and public education, research and public policy. With an active membership of over 6,700 health care professionals, the Society has become a pivotal force in shaping attitudes, policies and practices in geriatric medicine.

American Geriatrics Society

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