Sept. 23 was National Falls Prevention Awareness Day, when hundreds of national, state, and local partners coordinate to highlight the impact of falls, share fall prevention strategies, and advocate for fall prevention programs.
Falls are common and costly, but they are preventable.
Carroll County’s leaders in health, Carroll Hospital, the Carroll County Health Department, and The Partnership for a Healthier Carroll County, strongly support Falls Prevention Awareness Day.
Our common goal is for local residents to continue to live fulfilling lives for as long as possible. A serious fall can bring a sudden end to independent living and well-being, and can have enormous personal and financial costs. Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for older Americans, according to the National Council on Aging. However, falls are not an inevitable result of aging.
To help prevent a fall, the National Council on Aging recommends that you:
· Begin a regular exercise program, such as Tai Chi. Even taking regular walks can improve balance and help protect against falling. Check with local health and fitness organizations to see what programs are available — some may be free or low-cost. The Partnership’s Walk Carroll program has local free walking groups for people of all ages and ability levels. Visit HealthyCarroll.org/Walk-Carroll to learn about walking groups in your area.
· Ask your health care provider to review your medications. Some medicines affect balance. People who have multiple prescriptions may be more susceptible to falls. Bring all medications, including prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements ― whether taken regularly or occasionally ― to a planned office visit or to the pharmacist for review. Also ask your health care provider if taking Vitamin D supplements might improve the condition of your nerves, muscles, and bones.
· Have your vision checked regularly. Vision can become blurry and depth and distance may become more difficult to judge. Our eyes become more sensitive to glare, slower to adjust to light, or less able to make a distinction between similar colors. We can also develop eye disorders such as cataracts, glaucoma or macular degeneration, which can gradually change our vision. Even small changes to vision can increase the risk of falling.
· Make your home safer. Use a home safety checklist, like the one at CDC.gov/STEADI, to find out what changes you can make to help prevent falls. STEADI is a program by the National Centers for Disease Control that identifies modifiable risk factors, and offers steps you can take at home to avoid falling, such as: keep your home free of clutter, use non-slip mats in your bathtub or shower, avoid walking in socks, and eliminate throw rugs.
This article is from the Healthy Aging Leadership Team of The Partnership for a Healthier Carroll County, Inc. The Partnership, an affiliate of Carroll Hospital Center and the Carroll County Health Department, works to improve health by connecting people, inspiring action, and strengthening community.