This week will begin our two part series to bring awareness to National Falls Prevention Week and Month, celebrated September 21-25, but also throughout the entire month .
According to the US Center for disease control and prevention, every 11 seconds an older adult over the age of 65 is treated in the emergency room for a fall. 95% of the nearly 250,000 hip fractures that occur annually are the result of a fall. Falls are often preventable, and may happen anywhere, but most often happen in the home. Here are a few of the most common causes for falls with the elderly:
- Carrying objects that are too heavy or carrying them too far
- Not wearing proper shoes or footwear
- Home hazards: area and patterned rugs, torn carpet, cords and wires, improper placement of furniture and shelves
- Improper lighting and dark rooms
- Assistive devices being out of reach, especially canes, walkers, and glasses.
- Staircases, and not using handrails
- Medication mismanagement
The National Council on Aging, in partnership with many local organizations, brings awareness to the potential of falls all throughout the year, and especially each September. In addition, to identifying fall risks around the home we focus on identifying fall risks surrounding our health. Like anything, when identified early, we can work to isolate the cause and put solutions in place to better support ourselves in these areas. The NCOA's Falls Free Check-Up is a great tool to do every 3, 6, or 12 months and share with your physician. Some of the things it will help you consider:
- Do you use furniture or other objects to steady yourself
- Do you have trouble stepping up on the curb
- Do you lose feeling in your feet
- Do you often rush to the toilet
- Do you take medications to sleep or improve your mood
Please take a moment to download this complete tool below. And for a complete falls risk home assessment, or other information on how a caregiver can support safety in the home, do not hesitate to reach out.
Stay safe, and stay standing!
Molly Johnson is FirstLight Home Care Silicon Valley's Director of Client Services. She is focused on helping seniors age-in-place in a safe, healthy, and dignified manner. She is also an advocate of putting tools in people's hands to help identify fall risks and encourage people to seek the support of their physicians, family, and caregivers to be proactive in preventing falls.