Friday, August 18, 2017
An older adult falls every second of every day. Those falls are the number one cause of death from injury and injuries among older Americans. Every year, more than 27,000 die because of falls – that is 74 older adults every day. As we age, we are more likely to fall. The percentage of adults between the ages of 65 and 74 that report a fall is 27% versus 37% for folks 85 years and older. Educating older adults, their families, and friends about the importance of fall prevention is paramount in keeping older Americans safe and containing healthcare costs. With over 10,000 people in the U.S. turning 65 every day, the healthcare burden is ever increasing. Falls and fall injuries cost over $31 billion per year. The financial costs and the impact on families will continue to rise unless preventive measures are adopted.
Falls are not just a normal part of getting older – they are preventable. The CDC recommends the following simple steps for staying independent as long as possible.
- Talk openly with your doctor about fall risks and prevention.
- Tell your doctor right away if you have fallen, if you are afraid you might fall, or if you feel unsteady.
- Work together, review all of your medications, and discuss any side effects like feeling dizzy or sleepy.
- See if taking vitamin D supplements for improved bone, muscle, and nerve health is right for you.
- Activities that strengthen your legs and help your balance (like Tai Chi or even walking on a regular basis) can help prevent falls.
Check Your Eyes.
- Have your vision checked once a year and update your glasses as needed.
Make Your Home Safe.
- Most falls happen at home.
- Keep your floors clutter free.
- Remove small rugs, tape them down, or secure them.
- Add grab bars in the bathroom.
- Have handrails and lights installed on all staircases in and outside the home.
- Make sure your home is well lit with plenty of lights in every room of the house.
Take a class and learn about fall prevention.
Locally, the 4th Annual Fall Prevention Workshop will be held on Friday, September 15, 2017 from 10:00 am to 1:30 pm at the Lakeville Training Grounds, 5939 Stone Hill Road in Lakeville. Speaker topics at the free workshop will include:
- Talking with Your Doctor
- Medications that Impact Your Fall Risks
- Your Eyes Help Keep You on Your Feet
- Home Safety and Medical Services
In addition, all participants will:
- Learn strategies and skills to prevent falls in the home.
- Connect with available local fall prevention resources such as agencies, exercise and strengthening classes, and home safety.
- Be able to review medications with a local pharmacist
A complimentary lunch will be served to all workshop attendees. This event is free but registration is required. To reserve your spot, contact Noyes Community Outreach Services by September 8. Call 585-335-4359 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The event is sponsored by the Genesee Valley Health Partnership in collaboration with UR Medicine Noyes Health, Wegmans, the Livingston County Department of Health, and the Office for the Aging.
Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at UR Medicine Noyes Health in Dansville. If you have questions or suggestions for future articles she can be reached at email@example.com or 585-335-4327.