Wednesday, September 23 is Falls Prevention Awareness Day, a day aimed at increasing awareness about how to prevent fall-related injuries among older adults. Now in its 8th year, Falls Prevention Awareness Day – which coincides with this first day of fall – has participants in 48 states and the District of Columbus.
In observance of Falls Prevention Awareness Day, we’re sharing three prevention reminders to help you or your loved one stay safe.
Ensure a safe living environment
Perhaps the most preventable cause of falls is related to unsafe physical environments. Thankfully, there are a many things you can do to make your home safer.
- Keep pathways clear of objects; items in walkways are often tripped over
- Ensure that frequently used items are within easy reach, so that you don’t require a step stool to get them. This is commonly an issue in kitchens, where plates or cookware may be stored out of reach
- Make sure that small rugs will not slip, either by attaching double-sided tape or removing the rugs completely
- Add handrails and grab bars in high-risk areas of the home, such as the shower or stairs
- Ensure your home is well lit
Participate in regular exercise
While it may not be the first benefit you think of when you consider the many reasons you should be regularly exercising, exercise can help prevent falls. How? Exercise leads to improved strength, balance and flexibility – reducing your chances of falling. To learn more about how exercise has been proven to reduce the risk of falls, we recommend reading The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Evaluation of Community-based Wellness and Prevention Programs under Section 4202 (b) of the Affordable Care Act Report to Congress.
While you’ll want to discuss the best exercise programs to participate in with your physician, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that exercises that focus on balance and coordination – such as Tai Chi – are the most helpful for those looking to reduce their chance of falls. If you’re interested in learning about Tai Chi or balance classes being offered in the community, please call Tricia Mullin at (773) 596-2296.
If you’re interested in learning about the other senior exercise and wellness programs offered throughout Chicago, visit Eldercare.gov and search for local organizations offering “Healthy Aging” programs.
Schedule a visit with your doctor
Your health care team can play a significant role in your ability to prevent falls.
You should review your current medications with your physician. Even if you’ve been on a particular medication for an extended period of time, the way that your body reacts to it may have changed. A medication that causes you to be dizzy or sleepy can lead to an increased risk for falling.
You should also have your vision checked annually. Whether you need to update the prescription of your glasses or contacts, or you have developed a condition that limits your vision, it’s crucial that you receive the proper care for your eyes.
What YOU Can Do To Prevent Falls (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][CDC])