Falls Are Not a Normal Part of Aging
Written by webadmin | September 23, 2014 | In The News
Falls are not a normal part of aging, and most falls can be prevented. Yet about one in three seniors experience fall. Tuesday, Sept. 23, is Falls Prevention Awareness Day. It’s a perfect occasion to learn about fall awareness and what can be done personally and in the home.
Statistics about falls are alarming. The older you are when you fall, the more likely it is that you will end up in a nursing home. People age 75 and older who fall are 4 to 5 times more likely than those age 65 to 74 to be sent to a long-term care facility for a year or longer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Many who were living independently prior to a fall never regain enough function to live independently again.
Falls also impact quality of life in less obvious ways than moving to a nursing home. The fear of falling causes some adults to limit their activities and their social lives. Up to 35 percent of adults who fall become less active. Both the CDC and National Council on Aging say this can lead to more isolation, more physical decline, and depression or feelings of being helpless.
Are you at risk for falls? To find out, review the Falls Risk Checklist.
Then, take time to learn what you can do to help prevent a fall. Recommendations are:
1. Exercise. Focus on regular exercise that improves your sense of balance and increases your leg strength.
2. Be smart about medications. Have a pharmacist review your entire list of medications and over-the-counter supplements. The pharmacist can tell you which ones or which combination may cause side effects like dizziness or drowsiness. These side effects will affect your balance and coordination.
3. Check your vision annually. Poor vision increases the risk of a fall. If you wear glasses, consider getting a pair of glasses just for distance so that you can see better when you are outside.
4. Check your home environment. Make your home safe for you and your friends who may be frail. Uneven thresholds can trip feet. Attractive scatter rugs are nice but they create an uneven surface. Add grab bars to bathrooms so that those pretty but slippery floors, tubs and shower stalls become less of a home hazard. Have someone trained in home safety modifications–like Independent Living’s team–make a house call to observe how you live in your environment. Their recommendations will give you ideas what you can do to take the hazards out of living independently at home. With our on-staff carpenter, you can go from idea to installation without all the hassle of coordination.
Independent Living, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that administers two grants specifically for home safety modifications for qualified individuals. To learn more, call Jonathan Rossall, department manager, at 268-9635.