FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | July 21, 2010
Alzheimer’s Foundation of America Releases New DVD on Preventing Falls
NEW YORK, NY — The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) recently released “Preventing Falls: Practical Steps to Reduce Fears and Risks,” the latest DVD in AFA’s “Your Time to Care” series of educational programs for family caregivers, in the hopes of helping caregivers reduce their own risk of falls and prevent their loved ones from falling.
Falls are a very common and life-threatening occurrence and are particularly worrisome for caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, a brain disorder that primarily affects people older than 65. In fact, according to federal government statistics, o ne out of three individuals over the age of 65 will experience a fall, resulting in 20,000 deaths annually.
“What's really important to know is that a fall is preventable,” said Laura N. Gitlin, Ph.D., one of the experts featured in the DVD and director of the Center for Applied Research on Aging and Health, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia.
With this in mind, “Preventing Falls” provides insight into why dementia intensifies the incidence of falls and offers practical strategies from experts and family caregivers on how to reduce risk factors, including communication techniques, home modifications and lifestyle changes.
Among the caregivers who share their concerns, Judy Earnest provides care for her 85-year-old mother who has Alzheimer’s disease; she is worried that her mother’s gradual loss of coordination and balance will lead to a devastating fall and that that may prompt Earnest to break her promise to keep her mom at home.
“She's never really been steady on her feet, but more so I think is, is her not realizing she can't do all the things she ever did,” said Earnest . “ I just don’t want her to get hurt.”
In the DVD, P. Murali Doraiswamy, M.D., co- author of “The Alzheimer’s Action Plan,” noted that dementia very often affects coordination and balance as it progresses. “Cognitive impairment substantially increases the risk for falls anywhere from about two to eight fold,” he said.
The DVD, which was funded in part with a grant from Novartis Pharmaceuticals, is available on AFA’s E-store at www.alzfdn.org or by calling 866-232-8484. Other topics in the “Your Time to Care” DVD series include wandering and medication management.
Alzheimer’s disease results in loss of memory and other cognitive functions, and is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. An estimated one to four caregivers care for each person with the disease.
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America is a national nonprofit organization based in New York City that focuses on providing optimal care to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related illnesses, and their families, and unites 1,400 member organizations nationwide that provide hands-on programs. AFA’s services include a toll-free helpline with counseling by licensed social workers, a free caregiver magazine, and National Memory Screening Day. For information, call 866-AFA-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org
Contact: Carol Steinberg