Falls Prevention Awareness Day (September 22) – Safety Tips for Seniors
September 22 is recognized as Falls Prevention Awareness Day and the National Council on Aging (NCOA) dedicates an entire week to falls prevention awareness — September 21 through 25 of this year.
The organization initially developed this recognition to help people understand that falls are not a normal part of aging and that there are precautions seniors can take to avoid them.
Fellowship Square shares tips for seniors to protect themselves against injury due to falling.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that “falls are the leading cause of injury, death and disability for older persons in the United States.” The CDC’s STEADI (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths and Injuries) initiative was developed to offer health care providers with the resources to screen older adult patients, assess their risk of falling, manage patients’ medications that may increase fall risks and recommend vitamin D supplements to improve bone, muscle and nerve health.
On the flip side, there are a number to precautions seniors (and their caretakers) can take to help reduce their risk of falls. The Mayo Clinic recommends seniors visit their doctors to discuss their fall risk and have them review their medications for side effects and interactions that may lead to increased fall risk. Aside from medications, seniors should also discuss their past history or falls or health issues that may result in increased fall risk (such as eye or ear disorders that could cause dizziness or sight obstruction).
The Mayo Clinic also states that seniors can reduce their fall risk by staying active. An article on the organization’s website says, “Physical activity can go a long way toward fall prevention. With your doctor's OK, consider activities such as walking, water workouts or tai chi — a gentle exercise that involves slow and graceful dance-like movements. Such activities reduce the risk of falls by improving strength, balance, coordination and flexibility.” Seniors that avoid physical activity out of fear of falling should talk with their doctors to create a safe and individualized exercise plan.
Other steps that seniors can take to help reduce their risk of falling including adding additional light in darker spaces such as hallways and illuminate stairs or uneven flooring; wear proper fitting, sensible shoes, clear walkways of clutter, and consider the use of items intended to help reduce falls such as hand rails on stairs, grab bars in the tub or shower and more.
Fellowship Square is there for every step of a seniors’ aging process — and that process does not have to include fall risk! Visiting the doctor and taking some simple precautions can help seniors reduce their risk of falls.