Senior Planet will host a special lecture on Prevention Falls on 9/23 at 3 p.m. EST; check out the Senior Planet event list here for more information on joining via Zoom.
At first glance, the statistics that drive Falls Prevention Awareness Week (September 21-25) sound sobering and depressing. From the CDC: “Every second every day, an elderly adult (65+) suffers from a fall in the United States – making falls the leading cause of injury and death in this age group.” There is more: “One in four older adults falls each year in the United States …”
But here’s the bright spot: “Fall is not a normal part of aging. ”
So it̵7;s really under your control to minimize the chance that you’re 1 in 4 – or 3 in 4 staying upright.
Being aware of it – and of your personal risk of falling – is a good first step, says Kathleen Cameron, MPH, senior director of the Center for Healthy Aging at the National Council on Aging (NCOA). This organization runs the National Falls Prevention Resource Center, funded by the Administration on Aging, part of the U.S. Health & Human Services Department. And a member of her team will implement one upcoming Senior Planet workshop about fall prevention – why it is important, what to know, how to reduce the risk.
“We offer a wide range of training courses, ones that promote flexibility, strength, balance and endurance,” said Senior Planet Deputy CEO Fiona Adams. “This workshop is a good complement to these offers. Falling is not inevitable as we get older, but it is a concern for some of our members. ”
With awareness of your risk, information about reducing that risk and an assessment of your surroundings, you can reduce your chances of falling.
What is your risk?
Who can resist a quiz? We found two to judge your risk of falling. Here is the NCOA’s Falls Free CheckUp, which asks you to answer 12 questions and rates your risk based on your score. The CDC also has a quiz that also gives a score of your risk. Some of the questions can be surprising – you get the question about medication, whether you hurry to the toilet and your general mood, among others.
Case prevention plan
While many cases do not require much more than a bandage or breastfeeding, bruises can also cause serious brain and hip injuries in older adults. Here, Cameron and the CDC experts suggest how to reduce the risk:
- Find one training program with a balance component, such as Tai Chi. Senior Planet offers many online courses that you can choose from.
- Ask your pharmacist or doctor for advice review your medications. “So many drugs can cause side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, even blurred vision,” says Cameron. Your doctor may be able to adjust the dose or change the medicine while you are treating the condition properly.
- Look around your house to remove it tripping risks as throwing mats and clutter. Lay a strip of colored tape on the edge of the steps so that you can be aware of the steps even in darker light.
- Get yours vision and hearing are controlled annually. Blurred vision can increase the risk of falls and hearing problems can affect your balance.
- Talk to your doctor if you have fallen, if you feel unsteady or if you are afraid of falling. A fear of falling can limit your level of activity, says Cameron, and it is not good for public health. Take up the subject, she suggests; Do not wait for your doctor to do this.
Photo: Gary Binder