THE VENICE MARINA LAX LIONS CLUB recently presented the Airport Marina Counseling Service in Westchester with a $500 check. Pictured are, from left, Venice Marina LAX Lions Club President Sara Clark; Eden Garcia-Balis, executive director of Airport Marina Counseling Service; and club member Mary Ellen Cassman, one of the founding members of the clinic.

THE VENICE MARINA LAX LIONS CLUB recently presented the Airport Marina Counseling Service in Westchester with a $500 check. Pictured are, from left, Venice Marina LAX Lions Club President Sara Clark; Eden Garcia-Balis, executive director of Airport Marina Counseling Service; and club member Mary Ellen Cassman, one of the founding members of the clinic.

By Geoff Maleman
In California alone, 1.3 million older adults experience an injury due to falling each year, according to the Fall Prevention Coalition-Los Angeles (FPC-LA). An older adult is admitted to an emergency room every 18 seconds, and another dies as a result of a fall-related injury every 35 minutes.
According to the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, L.A. County saw more than 20,000 hospitalizations in 2010 for falls among people ages 65 years and older, with each visit averaging $61,800.
“The toll isn’t just financial; falling and the fear of falling can lead to depression, isolation and loss of independence for older adults,” explained Co-Director of the Falls Prevention Center of Excellence Dr. Jon Pynoos.
While the risk of falling increases with age, there are interventions that can reduce the risks associated with falls, including a fall risk assessment by a health professional, regular activity to increase balance, strength and flexibility, and home assessment and modifications.
This year, there will be several programs offered in the Westchester community during California’s Fall Prevention Awareness Week.
First, on Tuesday, Sept. 24, from 2 to 3 p.m., the “Silver Seminar Series” program topic will be “Preventing Falls One Step at a Time.” This program, developed by the FPC-LA, explores the issue of falls among older adults and ways to help reduce them. The program is open to the public and will be held at the Westchester Family YMCA Annex, 8020 Alverstone St. in Westchester.
Then, on Wednesday, Sept. 25, the Westchester Family YMCA will hold a “Better Balance” class at 10:30 a.m.  For reservations, (310) 670-4316.
Finally, on Saturday, Sept. 28, there will be a Fall Prevention Screening and Awareness Fair from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Westchester Senior Center, 8740 Lincoln Blvd. in Westchester. This event is part of the coordinated effort by the FPC-LA to offer free balance and gait screenings throughout greater Los Angeles.
In collaboration with the coalition, Westchester Playa Village will host this event, which will include free balance and gait screenings, bone scans, blood pressure reading and medication review. In addition to the screenings, there will be resource tables, educational centers, community organization vendors and experts available for questions in an effort to provide access to information and resources related to fall prevention.
This is the first time such a comprehensive week of programs will be offered for seniors and their families in the local community during California’s Annual Fall Prevention Awareness Week. ALLPOINT Home Health, OPICA Adult Day Care Service and the Westchester Senior Center have collaborated with the FPC-L.A. and Westchester Playa Village to bring the event to the community.
For more information or to register for the event, Westchester Playa Village at (310) 695-7030 or info@thewpv.org.

LIONS SUPPORT AMCS
Eden Garcia-Balis, the new executive director of the Airport Marina Counseling Service, received a warm welcome – and a $500 check – when she spoke to the Venice Marina LAX Lions Club at a recent meeting.
Garcia-Balis, who took over her new role at the clinic earlier this year, is a licensed marriage and family therapist, who earned her degree from La Verne University.
“Through psychotherapy a person can learn to love themselves, identify their strengths and change areas in their life they are not happy with,” she said.
Founded in 1961, Airport Marina Counseling Service is a nonprofit, community-based mental health clinic that serves the Los Angeles International Airport, South Bay and Westside areas of Los Angeles. The organization offers comprehensive therapeutic services to individuals, children and families, couples and older adults.
Information, (310) 670-1410.

CHAMBER HOSTS BLOOD DRIVE
The LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with CARENet LA, will host an American Red Cross blood drive from 1 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18. The drive will be held in the chamber’s board room at the Paradise Building, 9100 S. Sepulveda Blvd. Suite 210 in Westchester.
One donation can help save the lives of up to three people, according to the Red Cross. Snacks will be provided to those who donate.
Information, linda@carenetla.com.

COUNCILMAN BONIN HOLDS COMMUNITY CLEAN-UP
Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin will host a Westchester community clean-up event from 10 a.m. to noon on Sunday, Sept. 15 on La Tijera Boulevard (between Manchester Avenue and the 405 freeway).
Volunteers should meet on the lawn of the Department of Water and Power building at 7867 La Tijera Blvd. For more information and to RSVP, Fred Sutton at (310) 575-8461 or Fred.Sutton@lacity.org.§

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