St. Patrick’s to host fall-prevention seminars


By Sally Neel

Special to The PREVIEW

Jeff Westmoreland, PTA, will present seminars offering valuable information on how to strengthen our bodies and prevent ourselves from falling. These will be held at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church beginning this Saturday, Feb. 21, and Saturday, Feb. 28, from 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the church parish hall.

Westmoreland, originally from Farmington, N.M., graduated with honors in 2006 from San Juan College PTA program. He spent his first six years practicing physical therapy in Austin, Texas, at a skilled nursing facility, with focus on fall prevention and functional exercise programs to increase strength and balance. He now lives in Pagosa Springs and is practicing at Rocky Mountain Physical Therapy.

These fall-prevention seminars are meant to educate and help seniors prevent disastrous falls that can cause irreparable physical damage, as well as insurmountable financial burdens from medical bills. Westmoreland will discuss therapeutic exercises to increase functional mobility and decrease risk of falling. The information he will share can help us enjoy increased independence as we age.

Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal, trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults. Fear of falling can adversely affect the lifestyle of seniors. Out of fear and caution, seniors often become more sedentary and risk-averse, causing loss of muscle tone, which only contributes to the problem; all this during a time of life when seniors should be enjoying retirement. Falls are not inevitable, however. With careful prevention, seniors can enjoy a full, active and healthy life.

“A fall can happen within seconds and can be absolutely life-altering,” said Fr. Doug Neel, rector of St. Patrick’s. “It is our hope that by offering these classes, we can assist our aging population in preventing such accidents.”

You are invited to come and learn how to help yourself or a loved one enjoy a fuller, more productive life, free from worry of falling.

St. Patrick’s is located at 225 S. Pagosa Blvd. The seminars are free of charge. Those interested in attending are asked to call the church office at 731-5801 and leave a message that includes your contact information (phone number and email address).