Today, September 23rd, is Fall Prevention Awareness Day – designed to increase public awareness of preventing and reducing falls for older adults. Approximately 40 percent of all seniors fall every year. Falls account for 70 percent of accidental deaths in elderly people, which is a staggering statistic, especially since falls are preventable. Many communities celebrate this day by hosting events throughout the week that focus on exercise, home safety, medication management and family awareness.
Staying active improves endurance, flexibility, strength training and balance, thus decreasing the risk of falling. Endurance exercises range from walking to riding a bike and should be done at least 30 minutes a week. Flexibility exercises one can do to become more limber and increase core strength are yoga and Pilates, which when combined with strengthening exercises like resistance training or weight lifting, are the most effective form of exercise.
There are a number of changes one can make to their home to decrease the incidence of falling. First, allow plenty of light in the house – lack of visibility is a common reason for falling. Put grab bars and non-skid mats throughout the house to allow for better movement and stability. Lastly, keeping the house clean and all paths clear will help to decrease the likelihood of falling.
In honor of Fall Prevention Week, if your house does not resemble the “safe” house above, take some time to re-arrange the house and make some adjustments so that you don’t run the risk of taking an unnecessary spill!