Did you know that falling is NOT a normal part of aging?
Falls among older adults continue to be a national public health concern. On September 18-22, various organizations including the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and Falls Free Initiative will be recognizing Falls Prevention Awareness Week.
State coalitions and partners will raise awareness on preventing falls, reducing the risk of falls, and helping older adults live without fear of falling.
Falls threaten older adults’ safety and independence and generate enormous economic and personal costs. However, through practical lifestyle adjustments, evidence-based falls prevention programs, and clinical-community partnerships, the number of falls among older adults can be substantially reduced.
From awareness to action, here’s how you can make a difference:
Many people think falling is common as they age. The truth is, older adults can improve balance and strength. Taking action to address the risk of falling is an important way to stay healthy and independent as long as possible. Falls prevention activities are beneficial to everyone across the lifespan, and they can be fun!
Many older adults choose to continue living at home as they age. However, their homes may not be as functional as they once were. In fact, over half of all falls take place at home. With a few modifications, however, you can make your home a safe and comfortable place to age in place, independently, and reduce the risk of falling.
Five quick & easy home modifications you can make on your own:
Source: Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA)
Falls can be deadly
Each year, at least 25,000 older adults die as a result of falls. And the rate of fall-related deaths among older adults in the U.S. has been rising steadily over the past decade.
It is important for older adults to understand their risk of falling. NCOA’s Falls Free CheckUp is a digital assessment where older adults can answer 13 simple questions to get their falls risk score and steps to reduce their risk.
A fall risk factor is something that increases a person’s chances of falling. This may be a biological characteristic, a behavior, or an aspect of the environment. These risk factors include:
Biological risk factors
Behavioral risk factors
Environmental Risk Factors
Source: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
Use this checklist to check your risk for falling:
CDC) produced in collaboration with VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (VA), Geriatric Research Education & Clinical Center (GRECC), and the Fall Prevention Center of Excellence.
Every 11 seconds, an older adult is seen in an emergency department for a fall-related injury. Many falls are preventable! Take control of your health today – follow these six steps to prevent falls and injuries from occurring:
Source: National Council on Aging (NCOA)
Talk to your doctor
Get your eyes checked
Make your home safer
As a caregiver, you can encourage your loved ones to take action to reduce their fall risk.
The EnhanceFitness program is a low-cost, evidence-based group exercise and falls prevention program. The program strives to help older adults at all levels of fitness become more active, energized, and empowered to sustain independent lives. The EnhanceFitness program also may help reduce risk factors associated with falls.
To learn more about EnhanceFitness or find a free/low-cost class near you, visit: projectenhance.org
Local, state, and national resources are FREE and readily available to help! Check out these resources and share with your network:
Falls Prevention Week 2023 – (PDF)