September 18-24, 2022 is Falls Prevention Awareness Week. This is a nationwide effort to raise awareness on preventing falls. Falls can be common for any age but for many older adults this can result in a serious and costly injury. About 36 million falls are reported among older adults each year. Around 3 million older adults are treated in emergency departments each year for a fall related injury. Reducing the risk of falls can help older adults live with less fear.
There are many things you can do to help reduce the risk of a fall. Ask your loved ones about their current health conditions. Can they see well or should a trip to the eye doctor be scheduled? Are they able to keep track of their medications? Are the side effects causing them difficulties? These could be things to bring up with a doctor.
Do a walk through safety assessment of the home. Take note if you notice your loved one holding onto walls or acting extra cautious in a certain area. Remove any tripping hazards and increase lighting so it is easy to see.
Tai Chi and Stepping On classes can also help. Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance is held year round at the York Wellness Center and the Butler County Senior Center. There are also other Tai Chi classes scheduled periodically through the Polk County Health Department and Seward County Aging Partners. Coming soon to the area is a new class called Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention.
Four Corners offers a Stepping On class as well. Stepping On is a 7 week program designed for people who are living at home and have experienced a fall or are concerned about falling. It helps participants to strengthen their balance, build confidence, and learn more about fall triggers.