According to the National Council on Aging, while falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injury for people 65 years of age and older, they are not an inevitable part of aging. Studies show that a combination of behavior changes can significantly reduce falls among older adults. Experts recommend:
* Participating in a physical activity regimen with balance, strength training, and flexibility compo-nents.
* Consulting with a health professional about getting a fall risk assessment.
* Having medications reviewed periodically.
* Getting eyes and ears checked annually.
* Making sure the home environment is safe and supportive.
Helping area seniors to avoid falls, the H&C Burnside Senior Center in Coldwater is currently leading a Matter of Balance class. A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns About Falls is a program designed to reduce the fear of falling and increase activity levels among older adults.
Some suggestions to reduce falls include:
* Clear away items on the floor in high traffic areas that could cause a potential fall including cords, magazine racks, and rugs that don’t have slip resistant backing.
* Keep your rooms brightly lit, especially a light next to your bed within reach.
* If you don’t have them, consider assistive devices to help you including handrails in the tub, shower, by the toilet, and by stairs.
* Wear properly fitting shoes with non-skid soles.
* A little bit of physical activity can go a long way to increasing your balance. Taking daily walks to strengthen your core will help you should a fall happen.
Many older adults experience a fear of falling. People who develop this fear often limit their activities, which can result in physical weakness, making the risk of falling even greater. Make strides this fall, to avoid a fall. A little bit of prevention can help you stay happy and healthy in your home longer.
Emily Lambright is a registered nurse and owner of Embrace Your Health Home Services in the Coldwa-ter/Hillsdale area providing care to those that want to continue residing in their home but need some additional services and assistance. Embrace Your Health specializes in diabetes home care, health coaching and lifestyles management for chronic conditions and heart disease. For more information, call 517-439-4119.