Falls Prevention Awareness Week Starts Now!

Assuming that you’ve seen ads for pumpkin spice everything, you are well aware that Fall is officially here. Did you know, however, that the first week of Fall is also Falls Prevention Awareness Week? From September 23d to 29th, the National Council on Aging and organizations around the country educate and assist older adults to decrease their risk of falls. Read on to learn more about how you can prevent a fall without sacrificing your mobility.

Get the Facts

According to the Center for Disease Control:

  • One out of four Americans over the age of 65 will experience a fall this year
  • Every 11 seconds an older adult is taken to the emergency room for a fall
  • Falls result in over 3 million injuries treated in emergency rooms and cause more than 28,000 deaths every year
  • The total cost of fall injuries in 2015 was $50 billion

Preventing a Fall is a Team Effort

Your risk of falling can be greatly reduced by reaching out for support from your family, friends, and healthcare professionals. Talk to your pharmacist to understand how certain medications can raise or lower your fall risk, and be sure to take medication only as prescribed. Tell your doctor immediately if you are experiencing any negative side-effects from medication that could raise your risk. Tell your doctor if you have any history of falling and ask for a risk assessment. They may suggest a walking aid that will provide you with support and stability while moving around your home or outdoors. If you are already using a walking aid, make sure that it is properly adjusted to meet your needs. Incorrectly fitted walking aids may actually lead to falls instead of preventing them. You can ask your doctor or a product expert at Med Mart about how to modify your walking aid if you are having any trouble.

Maintaining your general health is also important for preventing falls. Make sure to get your vision and hearing checked annually and update your glasses or hearing aids as needed. Having the ability to clearly see where you are walking is a rather obvious solution for preventing falls, but many people do not realize that your hearing is just as important in lowering your risk. Another way to help you prevent a fall is to take a balance-based class. Take a friend with you to a Tai Chi or Water Aerobics class for a fun way to strengthen your muscles and improve your balance. Many community centers and YMCA’s offer free programs for older adults.

Modify Your Home to Prevent Falls

Ask your friends and family help you make your home a low-risk environment. Improving the safety of your home can require zero modification - just a little time. Remove any clutter on the floor or stairs and tape or coil cords to keep them out of the way. Move anything you regularly use to lower, accessible shelves so that you won’t have to use a stepstool. Have your friends or family help you to arrange the rooms of your home so that you have a clear path without having to maneuver around furniture. Check your carpeting to make sure there are no tears or holes, especially on the stairs, and be sure to add a non-slip backing or double-sided tape to any rugs in your home.

The lighting in your home is incredibly important when it comes to fall prevention. You should be able to walk with a complete view of your path, no matter the time of day. Add night lights in hallways and in your bedroom to help you stay safe if you have to get up in the middle of the night. Adding a lightswitch to both the top and bottom of a staircase is another way of improving your safety. Also, be sure to move your bedside lamp close enough so that you do not have to lean off of the bed to turn it on. If there is no place to put a lamp that close, consider purchasing a remote-controlled light.

Improving your home’s overall accessibility will help you to avoid falls. Add handrails on both sides of your stairs, next to your toilet, and inside your shower or tub for extra stability. You can also add threshold ramps to any doorways to make them safer and more accessible. Adding a stairlift can be incredibly helpful if you aren't confident about moving up and down your staircase. A lift chair is also a convenient way to get the support you need to stand without the help of a caregiver.

We are Here to Help

The Team at Med Mart wants to make sure you have everything you need to prevent a fall. Offering solutions from walking aids and lift chairs to our Home Access Program, we are here to help. Take a look at our Facebook page throughout Falls Prevention Awareness Week for exclusive discounts and deals.