05/13/08 — WCDS senior presents Girl Scout 'Gold' project

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WCDS senior presents Girl Scout 'Gold' project

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Published in News on May 13, 2008 1:52 PM

Emily Best, a senior at Wayne Country Day School, is working toward her Girl Scout Gold Award project, the highest award in Girl Scouts.

The Gold Award is the equivalent of the Eagle Award in Boy Scouts and has a 65-hour minimum requirement.

In Miss Best's family, her great-aunt, McArn, and both grandmothers fell and broke bones. Because of those experiences, she was inspired to raise awareness on the issue of falls and how to prevent them as part of her project.

In March after hearing Emily speak about her project, the Goldsboro City Council and the Wayne County Commissioners proclaimed March Fall Prevention Month. By the end of April, Miss Best had spoken to five churches, two WAGES Congregate Nutrition sites, the Goldsboro Women's Club, the Goldsboro Newcomers Club, the Senior Companions and The Foster Grandparents. Also, she received coverage on local television and radio stations.

Miss Best chose her "How to Prevent Falls" project to raise awareness of the issue and to educate the community. Research shows that one in three seniors citizens over the age of 65 is injured by a fall every year.

"In Wayne County, I estimated that 1,000 to 1,300 of the 15,000 citizens who are 65 years or older will suffer a nonfatal fall this year," Miss Best said.

According the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Web site, "Treatment of the injuries and complications associated with falls costs the U.S. more than $20.2 billion annually."

It is important to recognize that Medicaid and Medicare will no longer cover the cost of fall-related injuries in hospitals. In addition to the cost of the injuries, the patient has to use his or her time and energy to try to recover instead of continuing independently in life's day-to-day activities, Miss Best said.

Falls can be prevented by implementing simple measures. Regular eye and ear exams, proper foot care, and proper shoe attire will help prevent falls. Furthermore, people should be aware of medications and how they interact with each other. Also, a person's diet is very important because half the women and a quarter of the men over 50 years old develop osteoporosis, a disease which weakens a person's bones and makes them more likely to break. A person's diet should include dairy, dry beans and green leafy vegetables.

Exercise is essential to a person's health. Specifically, orthopedics created balance and strength exercises to be implemented by seniors.

"You are more likely to fall if you cannot stand one leg for five seconds," according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Web site.

Since 60 percent of falls occur in the home, orthopedics introduced a list of safety measures homeowners should be aware of and change in the living room, dining room, kitchen and bathroom.

Miss Best said her project taught her many skills including the art of public speaking, leadership and public relations, accomplishments that will be beneficial throughout her life. She madeand distributed fact sheets about falls and door hangers with balance exercises to remind seniors to practice their balance.

Miss Best, along with the other members of Troop 711, expects to receive her Gold Award at the Royal Tea Room on June 22.

Special to The News-Argus