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Mobility program to be offered monthly for the elderly

BOONE—To help older adults learn how to prevent falls, Appalachian State University’s BlueShield of North Carolina Institute for Health and Human Services will begin offering free monthly CHAMP screenings at the Lois E. Harrill Senior Center April through November.

View larger imageA CHAMP screening, like this one pictured, can help identify older adults at risk for falls and provide them with fall prevention recommendations.

The first date will be April 25, with appointments between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Interested individuals should schedule an appointment by contacting Carol Cook at 828-262-7674 or Subsequent dates are May 30, June 13, July 11, Aug. 22, Sept. 19, Oct. 18 and Nov. 7.

The center is located in the Watauga County Human Services Building at 132 Poplar Grove Connector, Suite A.

CHAMP stands for Community Health and Mobility Partnership. The program is designed to improve strength, balance and mobility to help older individuals avoid falls and stay independent and active for life. The screenings will be conducted by a nurse and physical therapist who will identify participants at risk for falls and provide individualized fall prevention recommendations.

Area physicians or home health workers are encouraged to refer patients to this service.

Who should participate? Anyone who:

  • Wants to reduce individual risk factors for falls
  • Wants to improve strength, balance or mobility
  • Needs instruction in specific home exercises to help maintain fitness and independence
  • Has concerns about balance or walking
  • Needs advice about assistive devices, such as walkers and canes
  • Has had one or more falls

CHAMP was initiated in McDowell County in 2009 as a two-year collaborative research project with Dr. Vicki Mercer at UNC, with Baxter International Foundation serving as the founding sponsor. It is a modified form of the Otago Exercise Programme, which has been proven to result in a 35 percent reduction in falls and fall related injuries.

CHAMP is sponsored by a collaboration of Watauga County agencies, including the Lois E. Harrill Senior Center, Appalachian’s BlueShield of North Carolina Institute for Health and Human Services in the College of Health Sciences, and the university’s Department of Nursing, Department of Sociology and gerontology and athletic training programs.