September is Healthy Aging Month, but this information is not just for seniors; no matter how old you are it is important to be aware of issues that affect the aging population. One in three adults 65 or older fall every year. Falls are a leading cause of injury for older Americans and can threaten a senior’s safety, independence and finances. However, falling does not have to be a rite of passage into our golden years. Everyone takes a different approach to aging, but safety is something we can all agree is critical. By taking steps towards prevention you can lower your risk of falling.
Consider the “Six Steps to Prevent a Fall” given by the National Council on Aging to empower yourself or help a loved one stay safe.
Find a good balance and exercise program. Look to build balance, strength and flexibility. Contact your local area agency on aging for referrals. Find a program you like and take a friend.
Talk to your health care provider. Ask for an assessment of your risk of falling. Share your history of recent falls.
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.
Get your vision and hearing checked annually and update your eyeglasses. Your eyes and ears are key to keeping you on your feet.
Keep your home safe. Remove tripping hazards, increase lighting, make stairs safe and install grab bars in key areas.
Talk to your family members. Enlist their support in taking simple steps to stay safe. Falls are not just a seniors’ issue.
One older adult is seen in an emergency department for a fall-related injury every 13 seconds. Don’t waste any more time! Take this opportunity to educate your family and friends in order help prevent them from falling.