Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention in Iowa.
Did you know that every 15 seconds an older adult is treated in an Emergency Department for a fall related injury? Did you also know that every 29 minutes an older adult dies from a fall? According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, unintentional fall‐related injuries and deaths are on the rise in Iowa. For those over the age of 65, it is the leading cause of death.
Falls are a significant concern for Iowans, especially among the aging population. Causes for falls vary, but often can be related to lower extremity weakness, poor vision, medications, chronic health conditions and hazardous home environments.
Community Health Partners is taking action against falls and is instructing the Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention class at the Walnut Creek YMCA in West Des Moines and growing that to other YMCA branches around Central Iowa. Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese exercise practice consisting of slow, relaxed movements. Studies have shown many health benefits associated with participation in weekly, community-based Tai Chi classes. Tai Chi has shown to improve balance, reduce fear of falling, reduce pain and stress, increase strength, improve functional mobility and flexibility, increase psychological well-being and reduce the risk of falling.
Tai Chi is now practiced throughout the world as a means to improve quality of life. Tai Chi for Arthritis (TCA) is a program designed by Dr. Paul Lam, in conjunction with a team of medical experts and Tai Chi Masters. Using the 12 Sun style Tai Chi movements, the TCA program is easy to learn, safe and effective. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the world’s most authoritative government body on disease and prevention, recognizes the TCA program as a proactive approach to preventing falls and suggests that it is an effective and sustainable public health intervention for fall prevention.
If you know someone who has fallen twice in the last year or once causing injury, suggest they seek a medical consult with their physician to determine their fall risk. They can be referred to a community-based fall prevention program in their community. You may just save their life!
Trina Radske-Suchan, PT, CSCS, FMSC, Community Health Partners