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Fall Prevention Awareness Month is Happening Now

The month of September is National Fall Prevention Month. Falls are the leading cause of death in Americans  aged 65 or older. Falls have become an epidemic and are the cause of 40 percent of people moving into a nursing home. Senior fall protection 

Senior falls

Falls are the leading cause of emergency visits for injuries in older adults. Falls often cause injuries such as fatal head injuries and hip fractures. Almost half of the seniors that suffer from these injuries do not return to independent living.

For the seniors that experience a fall, it is common for them to feel anxiety about falling again. The family members of someone who has taken a fall may find themselves more concerned and guarded about the fall itself. 

Senior safety may become a priority if it was not prior to a fall. Senior fall protection is worth an investment of time and money so you can protect yourself and your loved ones. 

Fall Prevention

There are several different options when it comes to senior safety. You can remodel or reorganize your home or work on certain exercises that will improve your strength and balance. 

The following exercises are simple and can help reduce your risk of falling:

  • Heel lifts. Stand with both feet flat on the ground. Raise your heels and stand on your toes. Hold for a second and lower back down.
  • Toe lifts. Stand with both feet flat on the ground. Raise your toes in the air until your weight is on your heels. Hold for a second and lower your toes.
  • Leg lifts. Stand straight and lift one leg off the ground. After 10 seconds, lower your leg. Switch sides and repeat.
  • Heel to toe walk. Slowly walk forward placing the heel of one foot directly in front of the other. Look ahead a bit if it helps keep your balance. Repeat for 20 steps.
  • Backward leg lifts. Stand straight with feet shoulder width apart. Hold onto something if you need to do so, and lift one leg behind you and lower it back down. Switch sides.
  • Sit to stand. Sit in a sturdy chair and place both feet on the floor. Stand using only your legs and slowly sit down again. You can hold your arms out in front of you or cross them.
  • Wall push-ups. Place your hands flat against the wall at chest height with your fingers pointed up. Keep your back straight and slowly bend your elbows to bring your body toward the wall. Then straighten your arms to push away from the wall.

The following are ways to make your home safer:

  • Remove tripping hazards.
  • Increase lighting. 
  • Make stairs safe.
  • Install grab bars. 

Fall prevention programs

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), effective fall prevention programs aim to reduce the number of people who fall, the rate of falls, and the severity of injury should a fall occur. These programs include a range of components to identify and modify risk for older individuals.

Programs may include screenings for fall risk within living environments, a home assessment and environmental modification for those with known risk factors or a history of falling, and the prescription of appropriate assistive devices to address physical and sensory impairments.

There are clinical interventions to identify risk factors, such as medication review and modification, treatment of low blood pressure, vitamin D and calcium supplementation, and treatment of correctable visual impairment. Group programs may incorporate fall prevention education, tai chi-type exercises, or dynamic balance and strength training.

Education

Educating yourself about the risks is only the first step in preventing yourself or loved ones from taking a life-altering fall. The next step is to take necessary action to reduce the risks, while being well prepared in the event of a fall.

Many falls can be avoided. When we are out in public, we instinctively keep watch for uneven or slick surfaces that could catch our loved ones off guard. But the risk of falling can be even higher at home because it is easier to take for granted more familiar spaces. This means it is especially important to make our homes as safe as possible.

In addition to making structural improvements around the home, regular physical activity, and exercise combining weight training, muscle strengthening, and balance improvement will help reduce the risk of falls for older adults.

While most falls can be avoided, some cannot. It is crucial to be prepared either way. Do your research and update your house for senior fall prevention and ready yourself in the case of an unavoidable fall.

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Hannah Verret
Hannah Verret is a Content Developer at Med-Alert Pros in Memphis, TN. Hannah has been working in content creation throughout her entire adult career. When Hannah isn't writing or organizing social media posts, she's spending her time reading and loving on her many pets.

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