RIO GRANDE — The Area Agency on Aging District 7 (AAA7) joins with the Ohio Older Adult Falls Prevention Coalition and the directors of the Ohio Departments of Aging and Health to recognize Saturday, September 22, 2012, as Falls Prevention Awareness Day. The group encourages all individuals in AAA7’s 10-county district to use the autumn season to educate themselves and their loved ones about the risk of falls and fall-related injury that increases with age.
“Falls among older Ohioans can negatively affect an individual’s health and sense of security, but can also have an impact on the entire family,” says Pamela K. Matura, Executive Director of the AAA7. “We’re using the first day of autumn to mark the beginning of an ongoing effort to help Ohioans become aware of the risks and do what they can to prevent them. Doing so will help our older neighbors remain safely in their homes and our community.”
Five easy things you can do to prevent falls are:
• Increase your physical activity. Simple exercise, like walking or swimming at least 15 minutes a day, can help build muscle strength and improve balance, which can prevent falls. Exercise programs like Tai Chi that increase strength and improve balance are especially good.
• See your eye doctor once each year. Age-related eye diseases, such as cataracts, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, can increase the risk of falling. Early detection is key to minimizing the effects of these conditions.
• Review your medications. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the medicines you are taking and whether they may cause drowsiness or dizziness. Discuss things you can do to ensure you are taking your medicines safely.
• Remove environmental hazards. Look around the house for anything that could increase the risk of falls, including poor lighting, loose rugs, slippery floors and unsteady furniture. Remove or modify these hazards.
• Think, plan and slow down. Many falls are caused by hurrying. Slow down and think through the task you are performing. Be mindful of possible falls risks and act accordingly.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 percent of adults age 65 and older living in the community, and more than half of all older adults who live in residential care facilities or nursing homes, fall each year. Falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths and the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma in older adults. Risk factors for falls include poor health status, prescription drug interactions, impaired cognitive function, use of alcohol, history of falls and impaired vision.
For more information, visit http://bit.ly/NoFallsOhio.
The Area Agency on Aging District 7 offers a falls management program entitled “Matter of Balance” and would like to extend the classes in the community. Community coaches are needed to help teach the class in their county. If you would like to volunteer for this role, please call the AAA7 toll-free at 1-800-582-7277 and ask for extension 215 or 254.