Reduce the Risk of Falls
Falls and fall-induced injuries are not a normal part of aging. However, each year, an estimated one in four Americans age 65 and older experience a fall. Many of these falls result in unplanned hospitalizations. According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), every 11 seconds, an older adult is seen in the emergency department for a fall-related injury. This represents about three million emergency room admissions per year. The good news is that many falls are preventable.
Missoula Aging Services is committed to empowering all older adults to age well, and that includes avoiding falls. From September 18-24, 2022, we are partnering with the National Council on Aging to observe Falls Prevention Awareness Week.
Falls remain a leading cause of injury for people aged 65 and older. Falls threaten older adults’ safety and independence and generate enormous economic and personal costs. However, through practical lifestyle adjustments, evidence-based falls prevention programs, and clinical-community partnerships, the number of falls among older adults can be substantially reduced.
Interested in assessing your risk? Complete the Falls Free Check Up: www.ncoa.org/article/falls-free-checkup
Here are some simple strategies you can take to keep yourself safe in and around your home:
- Find a good balance and exercise program. Look to build balance, strength, and flexibility.
- Talk to your health care provider. Ask for a falls risk assessment. For people age 65 and older, the screening is included in the Health Risk Assessment portion of Medicare Annual Wellness Visits.
- Regularly review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist. Make sure side effects and drug interactions are not increasing your risk of falling.
- Get your vision and hearing checked annually and update your eyeglasses. Your eyes and ears are key to keeping you safe and on your feet.
- Keep your home safe by removing tripping hazards, increasing lighting, making stairs safe, and installing grab bars and handrails in key areas in and outside your home.
- Talk to your family members. Enlist their support in taking simple steps to stay safe. Falls are not just an older adults issue.
In addition, stay tuned for exciting news from the MAS Education Program announcing an evidence-based Falls Prevention class that will be offered several times annually. We have been actively researching our options and will be thrilled to offer falls prevention programming year-round very soon!