September was National Falls Prevention Month, a campaign created to raise awareness about fall injuries sustained by older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “One in three Americans age 65 and older falls each year, and falling is one of the leading causes of injury deaths among older adults.”
The fear of falling is very real for the elderly. Many limit their activities because they are afraid of getting hurt. In response to this worrisome cloud that hangs over them, Spring Creek Senior Partners (SCSP) decided to create a week of awareness activities starting on Thursday, September 22, which was also the 9th Annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day (FPAD). This year’s theme was “Ready, Steady, Balance,” which focused on educating seniors on ways to strengthen their legs, monitor their medication and other home safety procedures. For one week, SCSP offered free vision, hearing and blood pressure screenings, a presentation by a pharmacist on how medications can affect the tendency to fall and a discussion by two physicians on factors influencing falls as well as a talk on home safety.
“Falls threaten seniors’ safety and independence and generate enormous economic and personal costs. Falling is not an inevitable result of aging though and through practical lifestyle adjustments, evidence-based falls prevention programs, and clinical-community partnerships, the number of falls among seniors can be substantially reduced,” said SCSP Director, Theodora Ziongas. In addition to the week of falls prevention screenings and discussions, SCSP will be hosting Tai Chi for Arthritis (twice a week) and a Matter of Balance (every Wednesday). “Through all of these activities, we hope to provide the information and exercise opportunities to help the seniors in our community reduce their risk of falling,” said Ziongas.
Spring Creek Senior Partners Advice on Falls Prevention:
Find a good balance and exercise program. Look to build balance, strength, and flexibility. SCSP offers Tai Chi for Arthritis, Matter of Balance, and Walk with Ease, all of these are evidence-based falls prevention programs. Sign up for one or more of these.
- Talk to your health care provider. Ask for an assessment of your risk of falling. Share your history of recent falls. We have a nurse onsite Mon-Fri from 9:00am -5:00pm. She can provide valuable advice and help.
- Regularly review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist. Make sure side effects aren’t increasing your risk of falling. Take medications only as prescribed. Visit our NORC Nurse for more information.
- Get your vision and hearing checked annually and update your eyeglasses. Your eyes and ears are key to keeping you on your feet.
- Check our calendar and column for our onsite screenings.
- Keep your home safe. Remove tripping hazards, increase lighting, make stairs safe, and install grab bars in key areas. Come to our presentations or ask our staff for information.
Talk to your family members. Enlist their support in taking simple steps to stay safe. Falls are not just a seniors’ issue.
Photo by: Amanda Moses