Older Adults Have the Power to Prevent a Fall
posted 9/12/2016 in
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) and its Falls Free® Coalition along with Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging (NEI3A) are promoting Thursday, September 22 as the 9th annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day. The event raises awareness about how to prevent falls and fall related injuries among older adults.
“Older adults want to stay active, independent, and safe in their homes, but many worry about their risk of falling,” said Janet Buls, Community Outreach at NEI3A “In fact, one in three Americans over the age of 65 falls every year. However, falling is not a normal part of aging. Every older adult has the power to prevent a fall.”
Across the country, partners are hosting classes and seminars, performing thousands of falls risk screenings, and educating older adults about this year’s theme: Ready, Steady, Balance: Prevent Falls in 2016. The theme highlights three goals that all older adults have the power to achieve:
- Be ready: Education is the most important step to being ready to prevent a fall. Online and at thousands of community organizations, there are resources to help older adults understand their risk of falling. They also can enroll in evidence-based falls prevention programs to learn how to address their fear of falling and what they can do to sustain their strength.
- Be steady: Older adults can be steady if they take simple steps to prevent falls. These include talking with a doctor about medications, getting hearing and vision checkups, and assessing living spaces for hazards.
- Be balanced: “Falls prevention is a team effort that takes a balance of education, preparation, and community support,” said Kathleen Cameron, Senior Director of NCOA’s National Falls Prevention Resource Center. “Falls Prevention Awareness Day is an opportunity to take a look at the world around us, be aware of falls hazards, and think about how we can make changes that will help our parents, grandparents, aging neighbors, and even ourselves be safe from falls.”
Falls can be serious and costly. According to the CDC one out of five falls cause a serious injury such as broken bones or head injury. Each year, 2.5 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries resulting in direct medical cost of $34 billion annually.
“We can all name a friend or family member who has fallen,” said Buls. “Those falls can result in serious injury, though fortunately that isn’t always the case. The good news is that most falls can be prevented. The easiest way to help reduce your risk of falling is simply getting more physical activity. Simply walking will increase your strength and balance.”
NEI3A offers two workshops/classes to help prevent falls.
- A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns about Falls: This workshop is offered to those wishing to improve their balance. During 8 two-hour sessions participants learn how to exercise to increase strength, set goals to increase activities, reduce fall risks within their environment, view falls and fear of falling as controllable.
- Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention: This exercise program promotes strength, flexibility and balance through easy movements that help build muscle strength with minimal stress on muscles and joints which ultimately helps to improve balance.
For more information about class times and locations, call Janet Buls at 319-874-6850.
To find more falls prevention resources, go to ncoa.org/FallsPrevention.