Sept. 23 is Fall Prevention Awareness Day

Sept. 23 is Fall Prevention Awareness Day

Posted: Thursday, September 23, 2010 1:16 pm

WCP 9.21.10 Have you ever heard the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?”
There is no statement truer when it comes to preventing falls.
Falls are the number one cause of injury deaths among older adults and the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.
Should an elderly person be afraid to go on with daily activities as normal because of the fear of falling? Absolutely not!
Making minor changes in the home and becoming award of our daily environment can prevent a large portion of falls.
Approximately one-half to two-thirds of falls occur in the home and are not usually caused by one factor. Usually it is a combination of things.
Who is at risk for falling? Statistics show that white men have the highest fall-related death rate followed by white women, black men and black women.
The most common fractures are of the vertebrae, hip, forearm, leg, pelvis, upper arm and hand.
Approximately three to five percent of older adult falls cause these fractures.
Based on the 2000 census, this translates to 360,000 to 480,000 people each year, with women sustaining 80 percent of all hip fractures.
Among people 75 and older, those who fall are four to five times more likely to be admitted for long-term care.
Of all fall-related fractures, hip fractures cause the greatest number of deaths and lead to the most severe health problems and reduced quality of life.
What causes most falls? The main cause of falls in older adults age 65 and older is lower body weakness, followed by walking and balance problems, taking four or more medications and obstacles in the walking path.
Environmental hazards also play a role in many falls.
How can seniors modify these risk factors? Older adults may greatly decrease his or her chance of falling by improving body strength and balance through regular physical activity.
Seniors can ask their doctors to review all their medications to reduce side effects and interactions, have regular yearly eye exams and become more education in ways to reduce fall hazards in the home.
Simple things such as installing grab bars in the bathrooms and securing throw rugs to the floor can greatly reduce the likelihood of a fall.
The senior center staff members in the Northwest District are now being trained in a special program targeting fall prevention call, “A Matter of Balance.”
The program is designed to make seniors aware of way to fall-proof their homes and pay closer attention to the outside environment for hazards that have never been a problem before.
The program introduces simple exercises that seniors can do daily in the privacy of their own homes to improve strength and balance.
The classes will consist of eight, two-hours sessions that will address many concerns and supply many solutions to daily problems that contribute to preventable falls.
Contact your local Office on Aging/Senior Center for more details of upcoming classes.
Sept. 23 is Fall Prevention Awareness Day. By working together, we can prove once again that an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure, especially where falls are concerned.

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