Falls Prevention Awareness Day
September 22nd is considered the first day of fall. Today at Elders’ Helpers, we’re also celebrating the 9th annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day. This national event sponsored by the National Council on Aging empowers seniors with the confidence and tools to prevent falls.
Falls threaten the independence and safety of seniors daily. We want our loved ones to be aware that falling does not have to be a normal part of aging; there are steps they can take to prevent falls. By spreading knowledge and building awareness about falls prevention, we hope to help seniors stay safe in their own homes for as long as possible.
Here are a few simple steps to prevent falls this year.
Get Out and Stay Active
Fear of falling can be just as detrimental to overall health and well being as falling itself. Many seniors find their enthusiasm for getting out and staying active is limited due to the fear of falling. Over time, this reduce in physical activity can cause seniors to become more weak and in turn more susceptible to falling.
Not to mention, turning down outings with family and friends can cause a person to feel isolated and depressed. Participating in your favorite physical activities even in the face of fear is one of the most important things you can do to keep your body healthy and strong.
Be Proactive about Preventing Falls in the Home
Modifying your environment to ensure safety and reduce the risk of falls is a key to remaining independent in the home for most seniors. There are many ways to be proactive about preventing falls while at home such as removing clutter in the living spaces, hallways and bedrooms.
Be sure to keep personal items tucked away where they belong. Leaving unnecessary items on the floor or in the walkway instantly become a tripping hazard. For example, be sure to place shoes in a closet or on a rack rather than leaving them out in the open where they could cause you or someone else to trip.
Make sure that any bedspread or linens are neatly on the bed and not touching the floor. Rearranging furniture or pushing in dining room chairs after use to clear walkways can also prevent a bad trip.
Many dangerous falls in the home occur in the bathroom, and there are many things that can be done to prevent these accidents. For example, placing no slip bath mats outside of the shower or tub can reduce the risk of slipping on wet floors. If you feel you may be at risk of falling while getting in and out of the shower consider installing a grab bar to assist in balancing.
For more tips and recommendations of home improvements for senior accessibility and safety in the home, please read our blog post about the Best Home Improvements for Senior Safety.
Seek Local Support
One of the greatest benefits of living in our community is the wealth of resources we have access to. Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan is offering A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns About Falls throughout Kent County.
A Matter of Balance is a unique program designed to help older adults reduce their fear of falling and increase their activity levels. Participants learn to set realistic goals to increase activity, change their environment to reduce fall risk factors, and learn simple exercises to increase strength and balance.
The comprehensive program strives to help people improve their quality of life and remain independent. Working with the specialists at Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan, you can safely create a personalized plan to help reduce your risk of falling.
Want more information about A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns About Falls? Please call Barbara Nelson-Jandernoa at 616-588-2580 to find a class near you or visit their website at aaawm.org/classes.
For more information about the National Council on Aging and Falls Prevention Awareness Day, please visit their website at https://www.ncoa.org/.