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TAKE A FRESH LOOK AT FALL PREVENTION THIS FALL

Falls are the leadiCaution signsng cause of injury-related hospitalization for older adults. If you’re 65 years of age or over you have a 1 in 3 chance of falling. More than 12,000 people in Washington are hospitalized for a fall each year causing skilled nursing stays,  loss of independence and fatalities at disturbing rates. So, starting now, September 23rd, National Falls Prevention Awareness Day, please take a minute to consider the information offered to help you and your loved ones  stay safe from falls.

Falls aren’t a normal part of aging. For the most part they’re preventable which means that your awareness and proactive decisions make a difference. The risk factors that cause falls are known and can be addressed in three steps:

1) Creating or finding an exercise program that supports all four aspects of exercise important to preventing a fall: flexibility, strength, endurance, and balance.

2) Keeping current on medications and vision prescriptions.

3) Considering your actions carefully and minimizing fall risks that tempt you then eliminating things such as loose cords, uneven walking surfaces, or other hazards in your environment.

Imbalance is the most common reason for a fall.  You’ll find Tai Chi lessons at most Senior Centers in Seattle and integrated into award winning evidence based Fall Prevention programs because of its benefit to balance. In the video below, one of many promoting Tai Chi on YouTube, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health demonstrates basic Tai Chi moves.

The chance of falling grows with age. 1 in 2 people over 70 will fall. The degree of injury after a low level fall also varies with age. After the age of 70 we’re 3 times more apt to die from simply slipping in the tub or tripping on a curb. That’s why fall prevention awareness is grabbing the attention of governments. This year President Obama authorized the STEDI program to encourage health care providers to evaluate patients  for fall risk and provide more information and fall prevention referrals. Fall prevention was also in mind when the Federal government launched the first annual Go4Life campaign this month providing resources to improve safety and quality of life for older adults. Thru the Falls Free Initiative the National Council On Aging now offers fall prevention measures for older adults and their caregivers. An abundance of resources are available to help families, professionals, and older adults lower the incidence of falls and fall related deaths.

King County offers several programs to help all ages stay safe from falls.   One Step Ahead is an intervention program partnering King County EMS and local fire departments with 9-1-1 to identify callers over the age of 50 who need help after a fall and are at high risk for falling again. Enhance Fitness is an award winning evidence based fall prevention physical activity program developed here in the northwest and available throughout the Seattle area and into Bothell, Vashon and Bainbridge islands.

Please, don’t wait for injury or EMS intervention …”Take a stand to Prevent Falls” today!

 

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