National Fall Prevention Awareness Day Is September 22nd

| Dr. Eva Norman

fall preventionGovernor Mark Dayton has declared Sept. 22, the first day of fall, as Falls Prevention Awareness Day in Minnesota. Minnesota is one of 47 states joining the national Falls Free® Initiative in observing this day to raise awareness of falls and ways to prevent falls in the older adult population.

Today is National Fall Prevention Awareness Day! Why is this important? Falls are a common cause of injury for older adults. Beginning at about a
ge 65, falls happen more often and become more dangerous. They may cause cuts, bruises, head injuries, and fractures. The most common fractures in older adults are in the spine, forearm, hip, leg, ankle, and pelvis. Injuries caused by falls may be minor, serious, or even life-threatening. In 2010, MN had the 4th highest fall death rate in the nation. Falls are a serious problem! This is why the first day of fall is dedicated to fall prevention.

Live Your Life Physical Therapy, LLC specializes in fall prevention and helps seniors improve their stability and gain the knowledge of how to live a full and active lifestyle without living in fear of falling.

Live Your Life Safety Tips for Seniors

1. Exercise Regularly: Walk, ride a bike, and/or use exercise equipment. If you are fearful of falling choose activities where it is less likely that you will fall. A great example of this is exercising in water, which may be safer and more stable for you than riding a bicycle.

Walking helps you to maintain your balance. It is also good for you because it helps strengthen your muscles and keeps you heart healthy. Furthermore, it helps keep your bones strong. Having strong bones may help prevent a broken bone if you should fall.

Exercising in water is gentle on the joints in your body. Joints are the places where two bones meet, such as your knee and your elbow. Water also acts as resistance, helping to strengthen the muscles in your body but with less stress on your joints.

Talk to your physician before starting a new exercise program. We can customize an exercise program for you. It is best to start an exercise program slowly, and increase the amount and frequency that you exercise as you get stronger.

2. Get Out of Bed or the Chair Slowly: Your inability to get up quickly and easily may be affected by several things. Some medicines may make you weak, dizzy, or lower your blood pressure. Certain medical conditions may cause swelling, pain, or stiffness in your joints and muscles. Trouble moving due to pain or stiffness may cause you to fall. Move slowly while getting up from lying or sitting positions. Sit on the side of the bed for a minute before you stand up.

3. Talk to Your Physician or Pharmacist about All Your Medications: Show them all your medication bottles. Ask them about possible side effects of your medicine. Tell them about any and all other pills or supplements that you take, even special teas, drinks, and foods. Some medicines may make you tired, dizzy, or less alert. This slows down your reaction time, making it harder for you to catch yourself when you are falling. Medicines that treat mood problems or pain may also increase your fall risk. Be aware that taking many different medicines increases the chance that they will not work well with each other.

4. Check Your Vision Annually: It is important to check your eyesight regularly. You may need new glasses or a stronger prescription. You may have problems with your eyes, such as cataracts, glaucoma or macular degeneration. These problems may make seeing at night more difficult. Wearing reading glasses, bifocals, or trifocals while doing other physical activities may change your ability to see how close or far way objects are. This can also lead to falls. Live Your Life therapists can suggest ways to manage problems with your vision.

5. Keep Your Diet Healthy: A healthy, well-balanced diet may help prevent illness and make you feel stronger. Getting enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet can help protect against bone loss. Stronger bones will decrease your risk of breaking bones if you should fall. Calcium is found in milk products, dark green vegetables, and other foods. Drink six to eight (8 ounce) cups of non-caffeinated liquids every day, unless you have fluid restrictions. Not drinking enough fluids may cause dizziness and weakness, which can cause falls. We can help you develop a nutritional plan that is right for you.

6. Keep Your Home Safe: Most falls occur at home. Stay safe and independent in your home by brightening your home or apartment, clearing your pathways, and removing your throw rugs. We can perform a safety assessment of your home to give you specific recommendations to keep you safe.

7. Enjoy the Outdoors: Being outside in the fresh air can help you to feel good. When you step outside give your eyes time to adjust to the outdoor light. Wear sunglasses year round to reduce glare and see well. Stay safe by using your cane or walking aid. Keep steps and sidewalks free of newspapers, leaves, and twigs. Look out for pets. It is easy to trip over a pet and their toys in your path. Watch for cracks in steps and sidewalks or changes in elevation. When you see a tree ahead in your path, watch for any low-hanging branches, tree roots, or fallen branches on the ground.

If you or someone you love is beginning to show signs of instability or fear of falling, we can help! Falling is NOT an inevitable result of aging. Through our evidence-based fall prevention program we assess you for fall risk factors, educate you, your family, and caregivers in strategies to reduce falls and perform a home safety assessment. We will then develop a “Wellness for Life” exercise program to prevent or substantially reduce your risk of falls. We will also provide you with a FREE brochure that can help create a safer atmosphere in your home and give you some red flags to watch for when you’re out in public.

We BRING PHYSICAL THERAPY TO YOU at the location of your choice. CALL US TODAY so we can start you on your path to freedom; strengthening your body and conditioning you for stability to help you LIVE YOUR LIFE.



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