Did you know that falls are not a normal part of aging? While falls are very common among older adults–in the U.S. one in three adults fall every year–they are not inevitable. Most falls can be prevented.
In recognition of Fall Prevention Awareness Day, taking place on Wednesday, September 23, we encourage you to take the time to learn if you are at risk for falling and what steps you can take to eliminating or decreasing these risks. If you can, try to attend one of two workshops that our rehabilitation therapy fall prevention specialists will be participating in as well.
According to the National Council on Aging, there are six simple steps you can take to prevent falls:
- Find a good balance and exercise program. Look to build balance, strength and flexibility. Contance your local Area Agency on Aging for referrals. Find a program you like and take a friend.
- Talk to your health care provider. Ask for an assessment of your risk of falling. Share your history of recent falls.
- Regularly review your medications with your doctor and pharmacist. Make sure side effects aren’t increasing your risk of falling. Take medications as prescribed.
- Get your vision and hearing checked annually and update your eyeglasses. Your eyes and ears are key to keeping you on your feet.
- Keep your home safe. Remove tripping hazards, increase lighting, make stairs safe, and install grab bars in key areas.
- Talk to your family members. Enlist their support in taking simple steps to stay safe. Falls are not just a seniors’ issue.
The statistics show that falls are not something that just happen to other people. As we age, our risk for falling not only increases, but the fall can get more serious over time. Falling can lead to reduced independence as well as significant costs, all of which can be avoided by making simple lifestyle and environmental changes.
If you feel like you are at risk for falling, there are licensed professionals–physical and occupational therapists–that can perform a detailed assessment and provide you with recommendations specific to your risk factors.
At UVM Health Network – CVMC we have rehabilitation therapy staff who are specifically trained at fall prevention. Learn more about our Fall Prevention services.