Every second, every day, a senior falls in the U.S.
As we age, our bodies go through a natural decline that can impact our balance and mobility. A fall can cause significant injuries, including broken bones, and can limit an individual’s independence. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of injury and injury death among adults age 65 and older.
However, with some awareness and action, falls can be prevented. That’s the aim of the annual Falls Prevention Awareness Week, which is held this year from Sept. 18-22.
The theme for the 2023 Falls Prevention Awareness Week is “From Awareness to Action,” emphasizing the importance of not only being aware of fall risks but taking meaningful steps to prevent falls. This year’s campaign seeks to empower older adults, caregivers and healthcare professionals to make changes that can reduce the risk of falls in seniors.
In this article, we will introduce Falls Prevention Awareness Week, explain its purpose, offer some practical tips on how to avoid falls and share how Cass County Medical Care Facility can help.
Ways to Reduce Fall Risk
One way to reduce fall risk is to stay active and exercise regularly. Simple activities like walking, swimming and stretching can improve balance and coordination, which may reduce the risk of falls. However, for some seniors, getting the necessary physical activity can be a challenge. In such cases, working with a physical therapist can be a beneficial option. A therapist can design a low-impact exercise routine tailored to individual needs, helping to improve overall mobility. Additionally, proper footwear is crucial in fall prevention. Shoes should fit well, have good support and be slip-resistant.
Medications can also contribute to fall risk, so it’s important to review them regularly with a physician or pharmacist. Certain prescription medications, including sleep aids and antidepressants, can cause dizziness and balance problems, increasing the risk of falls. Over-the-counter medication like antihistamines and pain relievers can also cause similar problems.
Another strategy for fall prevention is environmental modification. This includes removing loose rugs and electrical cords from walkways, installing grab bars and railings in bathrooms and stairways and increasing lighting in dimly lit areas of the home.
Encourage Open Discussion Among Loved Ones
Talking to seniors about fall risks can sometimes be challenging, but there are a few tips that can make the conversation easier. It’s best to approach the discussion with empathy, understanding that seniors may feel embarrassed or reluctant to acknowledge their risk for falls.
It’s essential to be respectful and non-judgmental, acknowledging that falls can happen to anyone. Additionally, it can be helpful to provide practical suggestions for preventing falls, such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle, installing grab bars in the bathroom or ensuring stairwells are well-lit and free of clutter. Listen carefully to their concerns, and work together to develop a plan for fall prevention.
How Cass County Medical Facility Can Help
Cass County Medical Care Facility is well-positioned to assist residents who have experienced falls. Our facility offers comprehensive therapy services, including physical therapy and occupational therapy, to help residents regain strength, mobility and independence. Our team of experienced therapists works closely with residents and their families to develop personalized care plans, emphasizing fall prevention and safety.
Falls Prevention Awareness Week is a prime opportunity to raise awareness about the risks of falls in older adults and encourage individuals to take action to prevent them. By incorporating strategies like exercise, medication review, environmental modification and open communication, we can reduce the risk of falls and promote healthy aging. And for those who have already experienced falls, Cass County Medical Care Facility and our therapy services are here to help.
Let’s work together to ensure that Falls Prevention Awareness Week is a success, and we all play our part in promoting safety and independence for seniors in our communities.
Have a question about our facility or long-term care options? Contact Cass County Medical Care Facility today to learn more about our comprehensive services!