Falls Prevention Awareness Week: September 21–25, 2020
Recently I was preparing a presentation about Ageism. During the development of the program, I concluded that while we have made progress in our collective attitudes about aging, many still view getting older as a time of decline and diminished abilities. When we think about getting older, we rarely think about ourselves. We view aging as happening to someone else.
I believe this theory also holds true when we think about the prospect of falling. We think it won’t happen to us. That falling is only for the frail. And like most topics, we don’t care to discuss, we ignore it.
Unfortunately, falls are a serious public health issue, and we all need to do our part to address falls prevention. According to the National Council on Aging, Falls Are Not A Normal Part Of Aging. Yet, falling is the leading cause of injury and death in adults ages 65+. One out of every five falls causes a serious injury, and in 2019, the cost of falls to the U.S. Health Care System was 50 billion dollars.
Additionally, many people who fall, even if they are not injured, become afraid of falling. This fear can lead to inactivity and weakness, which can increase the risk of falling.
strong>What can you do to decrease your risk of falls?
- Ask your doctor or healthcare provider to evaluate your risk for falling and talk with them about specific things you can do.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines to see if any might make you dizzy or sleepy. This should include prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines.
- Strength and balance exercises make your legs stronger and improve your balance.
- Have your eyes checked, and update your eyeglasses.
- Get rid of things you could trip over in your home, such throw rugs.
- Add grab bars inside and outside your tub or shower and next to the toilet.
- Put railings on both sides of the stairs.
- Make sure your home has lots of light by adding more or brighter light bulbs.
There are local Falls Prevention programs and resources to help you reduce your risk of falling:
- Senior Friendship Centers — Balance Movement and Yoga classes have resumed with CDC guidelines, including limited class size. Call 556-3265 to reserve your spot due to reduced class size.
- Silver Sneakers — There are 28 Silver Sneakers fitness locations throughout Sarasota County and the availability to take remote classes.
- Fyzical Therapy and Balance Centers — Physical therapists offer personalized programs based on your needs. 941-879-9930.