Older adults and fall prevention

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Wally Pearce Winters Elder Day Council Monday, Sept. 23 is National Falls Prevention Awareness Day, sponsored by the National Council on Aging (NCOA). It’s estimated that one in five older adults fall each year and are the number one cause of injury, hospital visits due to trauma, and death from an injury among people age 65-years of age and older. Still, research has shown that many fall risks can easily be reduced and even prevented. Yet, while falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for older adults 65 years of age and older, they are not a predictable part of aging. There are many different factors that can increase the risk of falling. These include but are not limited to:

  • Past falls
  • Hazards in the home and community
  • Problems walking
  • Balance problems
  • Weakness
  • Improper footwear
  • Chronic diseases
  • Multiple medications
  • Poor vision
  • Depression
  • Memory problems
  • Behaviors like rushing
Because there are many different factors that contribute to falls, there are also several different recommendations for reducing fall risks. These include:
  • Talking with a health professional — to identify and treat medical problems that could lead to falls.
  • Regular Physical Activity — plan to have regular physical activity.
  • Being Aware of Safety Hazards in the Home and — evaluating your resident to identify fall hazards and making proper changes for safety.
Those that think Fall Prevention is not important or does not apply to you…think again. The California Department of Public Health reports that in 2013 older adults’ age 65-years of age and older residing Northern California counties sustained over 15,000 avoidable falls, resulting in 11,588 emergency room visits, 3,630 hospital stays and 117 deaths. And the numbers are rising.  Most recently, Yolo County saw a 44 percent increase in emergency room visits for falls between 2006 and 2015 for residents over the age of 65, according to the Yolo Health Council. And while most falls don’t result in serious injury, one in five does, including broken bones and head injuries and occasionally both at the same time. The Winters Elder Day Council continues to serve the City of Winters community as one of its resources for each one of our elder adults living in the community, including their families, and friends, focused on raising awareness about decisive important elder adult issues.   ]]>

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