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Essex Senior Center Hosts Tai Chi Demo, Fall Prevention Screenings

The event is part of National Falls Prevention Week.

Essex Senior Center's newest health awareness program includes hearing screenings, vision tests and a dash of Tai Chi.

The senior center will observe National Falls Prevention Week with a program called "Gait Way to Better Balance" from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday.

The event will feature free vision screenings from Katzen Eye Group and hearing screenings from St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson. Issues with hearing and vision are often contributing factors to falls, said Essex Senior Center Director David Lesane.

"The screenings kind of tie into falls and the way to prevent them. Balance is one thing, so there will be a Tai Chi demonstration for balance," he said. "They're all tied into prevention methods for falls."

Local pharmacies and other vendors will also be on hand, Lesane said, along with a display of antique cars.

This is the first time the center has held an event for Falls Prevention Week, said Assistant Director Ben Hoffman.

"We were just going to do different fall screenings and things like that, but we decided to expand it a bit," Hoffman said.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, falls are the leading cause of injury death among adults 65 and older. In 2010, the CDC reports, falls racked up $30 billion in medical bills.

Fall prevention was a recent priority for County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, who held a media event on the subject last week in Towson for Falls Prevention Week.

"Most of these falls are preventable and it is important to get this information out to seniors and their family members," Kamenetz said in a press release.

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