Did you know that Fall is the time of year assigned to Fall Prevention awareness? I didn’t. But what a great tie-in to a serious issue for seniors. Take it from someone (me) who has taken an unexpected tumble or two – it is humbling and it hurts to lose your balance or trip over something silly and come crashing down all all fours. <<<Ouch>>> Studies show that more than 30 percent of falls result in hip or head injuries. Let’s face it, neither of these is a good thing!
Here are some of the facts:
· In 2008, 82% of fall deaths were among people age 65 years or older
· In 2008, more than 19,700 older adults died from unintentional fall injuries
· Fall-related fractures occur more than twice the rate for older women than for older men
· More than 90% of hip fractures are caused by falls. And, white women have significantly higher hip fracture rates than black women
· Direct medical costs of falls equaled @28.2 billion last year alone
(Source: Sierra Vista Herald, October 18, 2011 issue.)
This issue of falling has become a problem throughout our nation – and is for the most part, avoidable. For instance, getting rid of those pesky throw rugs is a big help! Moving obstructing furniture is another. Eliminate of any sort of tripping hazard now while you are thinking about it. Install grab bars in your bathrooms. Make sure your lighting is as good as it gets! Brighter is better as we age.
However, don’t let a fear of falling stop you from doing things you love to do. Instead, exercise regularly to regain and maintain your balance and steadiness on your feet. Go slowly with the workouts, and it is always a good idea to check with your doctor before starting a new regimen. Aim for balance and strength activities such as Tai Chi, for example. Also important is scheduling regular eye checkups. You may even want to consider an extra pair of glasses with single vision distance lenses for when you take Spot for a walk around the neighborhood.
So…STAND UP for fall prevention! The next fall may be your own. Oh, Goodness! I don’t even want to think about that!