Falls Prevention Day, Awareness Every Day
National Falls Prevention Awareness Day is on September 23, and seniors continue to have both local and online resources to educate themselves on a national threat.
One in three of all seniors over the age of 65 suffer at least one fall in their lives, said Alan Abe, Project Manager for King County, who also runs King County’s Fall Prevention Program.
“Most older adults tend to see it as an accident, and don’t realize that it is a growing problem,” Abe said. “Once you do fall, you have a higher chance of falling again.” In fact, two thirds of seniors who experience a fall once will experience another in the next six months, according to King County’s One Step Ahead Prevention Program.
The program includes four key strategies when it comes to preventing a fall. The first is regular and varied exercises, to keep the body in physical shape and keeping it balanced, since 60% of fatal falls occur in the home.
The second strategy is keeping one’s vision in check, in order to properly judge distances and read fine print in certain situations.
The third is medicine management, as a way of balancing drug interactions and potential side effects, to keep all of one’s medications in check.
The program’s final strategy is home modification, including rails, gates, lighting, and other methods of identifying potential hazards before they become dangerous.
Both work with seniors by responding to or acting to prevent dangerous situations, such as house modification to make getting around safer and communicating with personal physicians.
The program “enables an efficient and directed approach to identify those persons living in the community who are at the highest risk of serious injury due to falls,” according to its releases.
The National Council on Aging offers similar advice on fall prevention, starting with finding a healthy exercise program, and ending with talking to one’s family members to ensure proper communication in case of emergencies.
More information can be found at www.ncoa.org/fallsprevention.
Seattle-area based native Reed Strong is a college senior at Western Washington University majoring in journalism, working with Northwest Prime Time to talk with local seniors and baby boomers to report on local issues to get those issues back to the community at large.
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