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September 23rd is Fall Prevention Awareness Day!

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

September 23, 2010 is Fall Prevention Awareness Day!

For people over 65 years of age, a fall is serious thing. Falls and injuries from falls are a major threat to health, independence and quality of life. Every year 1 out of 3 older persons has a fall and most falls occur at home. With much focus on aging in place and finding ways for seniors to stay in their homes, preventing falls should be a vital part of that plan. There are steps you can take to make your home safer and prevent falls. Removing area rugs that can cause someone to slip or trip, as well as installing grab bars in bathrooms are some measures that can be taken to prevent falls at home. Someone who has already experienced a fall is also more likely to fall, so making lifestyle changes that can prevent another fall or serious injury from a fall are also important. For example, regular exercise can strengthen muscles, as well as, help with balance and gait. You’ll also want to talk to your doctor about the medications your on to see if any of them could be increasing your risk of a fall, also keep in mind that consuming alcohol while on medication could contribute to a fall.

Falls are often the cause of serious injury in older adults and can lead to a hospital admission. Preventing falls can be done, as stated above, by making your home safer. In addition to the things you can do yourself, you can also have an evaluation by a physical or occupational therapist for help and suggestions for preventing falls at home. Exercise is key to keeping your independence for many reasons, but also for preventing falls. You can increase your strength and build muscle to protect your bones, you can also make sure you have a steady gait when walking and improve your balance, which could all prevent a fall or lessen injury from a fall. Senior centers and other community centers may offer exercise programs geared toward preventing falls or that are tailored for older adults.

For more information about preventing falls and about Fall Prevention Awareness Day visit:                                                                                                    NCOA- Center for Healthy Aging- Fall Prevention Information: http://www.healthyagingprograms.org/content.asp?sectionid=149

For programs in New Jersey or to find your Senior Center start with your County Office on Aging:   http://www.state.nj.us/health/senior/sa_aaa.shtml