Falls Prevention Awareness Day
6 Tips to Avoid a Fall
Falls, unfortunately, are a common event in many seniors’ lives. In fact, you probably know a handful of friends or family members who have slipped or fallen in the past few months. What can seniors do to prevent falling? How can seniors gain back their strength and balance while they continue to age in their golden years? Is it possible to be a fall-free senior? The National Council on Aging believes every senior can be fall free and is spreading awareness about falls and how to prevent them.
Its 7th annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day is on September 23, 2014 and has garnered countrywide attention as seniors look for ways to increase their balance and stability. As a forerunner in falls prevention, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) has some helpful tips to keep you from falling. Let’s take a look at some statistics on falling.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- 30% of Americans over 65 years old falls each year.
- Every 15 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 29 minutes, an older adult dies following a fall.
- Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.
It’s not hard to see why communities are banding together to inspire seniors to be active, balanced, and stable. This year, 47 states are joining Falls Prevention Day to teach seniors how to be aware of their surroundings and to show them simple steps to keeping their balance and improving their strength.
6 Tips for Fall Prevention
1. Exercise regularly.
Find a good program in your community that focuses on balance and stability exercises. Last year’s winners of the Falls Free Photo Contest (by the NCOA) depicted seniors practicing Tai Chi. Tai Chi increases balance, coordination, and helps focus one’s breathing. Participants report having fewer falls with these simple and effective movements.
2. Talk to your doctor.
If you’ve noticed your lack of balance in recent days or if you’ve had a recent fall, your doctor may be able to take an assessment of your balance and suggest how to reduce your risk of future falls.
3. Check your medications.
Sometimes taking a combination of medicines at the same time can lead to dizzy spells. Talk with your doctor to see if your medications may be the culprit if you’re feeling unbalanced.
4. Keep up on your vision and hearing checks.
The key to good balance is having good eyesight and hearing. Take care of yourself by ensuring you are up to date on these check-ups.
5. Keep your home safe.
Identify areas in your home that may be a potential source of a future fall: Is your hallway cluttered? Is it hard to see objects at night or in the dark? Even if you haven’t had problems in the past, now is the time to reconsider moving furniture and items around to ensure you can safely pass through areas of your house without slipping or losing your balance.
6. Talk with your family members.
Family members are a great source of encouragement and support. Letting them know about a recent fall is a good way to keep communication lines open and will allow them to help you find programs and activities that will keep you strong and active. Your communication enables them to help you remain independent for as long as possible.
Falling does not need to be a part of any active senior’s life. By engaging in the above activities, you can preemptively reduce your risk of falling. Check with your local health care provider or local senior center for balance and coordination fitness activities that you can join.
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