Simple Steps to Reduce the Risk of Falls
By Teresa Sacks
September 20, 2021
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 (MAS) is proud to join the efforts of the NCOA to spread awareness of falls prevention and to empower older adults to take action to reduce the risk of falls.
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.
Missoula Aging Services and the Missoula Public Library are partnering this autumn to offer the Aging Mastery Program (AMP). This program will help you take control of your health and prevent falls. AMP is a fun, innovative, and person-centered education program developed by the NCOA, empowering adults age 55 and older to embrace their gift of longevity by spending more time each day doing things that are good for themselves and for others. Falls Prevention, Sleep, Medication Management, and Exercise and You are a few of the classes offered during the 11-week session.
AMP is offered at no cost, but space is limited. This 11-class series takes place on Mondays from 10 am –12 pm beginning October 4 over Zoom.