Falls continue to be the number one cause for an emergency department visit for adults 65 and older. Every 11 seconds, an older adult is seen in the emergency department for a fall-related injury (NCOA, 2015). Many of these falls happen because of poor balance, but there are so many other factors too.
Many falls are preventable. The National Council on Aging invites you to stay safe with the following tips (NCOA, 2015):
1. Find a good balance and exercise program. Look to build balance, strength, and flexibility. Enroll in a 7-week Stepping On program by contacting the Aging & Disability Resource Center. The ADRC-CW also has information about other exercise programs in your area.
2. Talk to your health care provider. Ask for an assessment of your risk of falling. Share your history of recent falls. Discuss ways to reduce your risk.
3. Regularly review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist. Make sure side effects aren’t increasing your risk of falling. Take medications only as prescribed.
4. Get your vision and hearing checked annually and update your eyeglasses. Your eyes and ears are key to keeping you on your feet.
5. Keep your home safe. Remove your tripping hazards, increase lighting, make stairs safe, and install grab bars in key areas.
6. Talk to your family members. Enlist their support in taking simple steps to stay safe. Falls are not just a seniors’ issue.
How can I learn about improving my balance and all the ways to prevent a fall from happening to me?
Take a Stepping On workshop!
Stepping On is a 7-week, evidence-based workshop for older adults. In this workshop, participants will learn simple balance and strength exercises; the role vision plays in maintaining balance; how medication can contribute to falls; ways to stay safe when out and about in the community; what to look for in safe footwear; and how to check for safety in the home. Participants who have attended a complete Stepping On workshop have seen a 50% reduction in falls.
In April, the Aging and Disability Resource Center and Kindhearted Home Care have partnered to provide a Stepping On workshop in Merrill. The program will be held on Mondays, beginning April 9-May 21 from 1-3 p.m. at the Lincoln County Service Center Building, 801 N. Sales St., Merrill. Pre-registration is required. Please call 715-536-0311 for more information or to register. Cost is $10 for the entire seven-week class.