Falls are expected to occur as we get older. FALSE. Falls are not a natural part of the aging process. Steps can and should be taken to prevent falls. Examples of ways to do this include taking classes, adapting your home, and communicating with your health care provider and family about falling, especially if you are concerned.
Classes focusing on fall prevention are Matter of Balance (MOB), Tai Ji Quan or Stepping On. These evidenced-based classes promote preventing falls through low-impact exercises and improving balance. The classes are offered throughout the state and can be found by contacting your local area agency on aging. An excellent resource to locate virtual classes is Juniper (www.yourjuniper.org).
Another form of preventing falls is to review what you have in your home. Reduce clutter; paper on the floor, rugs, pet accessories or other items can be moved to allow a clear and even walking surface. Placing furniture strategically throughout your home as a balance tool is not a safe way to ambulate. You should speak with your healthcare provider if you find yourself doing this.
Many people are scared to talk to their healthcare provider or family about health concerns; they don’t want to be seen as a burden or lose their independence. Fall prevention is a team effort. Your health care provider and family cannot assist you if they are unaware of your concerns.
How do you know if you are at risk of falling? There are many ways to check your risk of falling. One way is to visit the National Council on Aging website (www.ncoa.org), where you can take an assessment of your risk of falls. This free service can help you if you are concerned about falling. Take the online assessment and discuss the results with your healthcare provider. Remember, one out of every four individuals over 65 experience falls. Falls can lead to serious injury, hospital stays and sometimes are fatal. Falls can be prevented, be proactive and take the initiative to be safe.
To learn more about about falls prevention, visit the websites below.