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INTERESTING STUFF – 24 September 2016

Welcome to Fall - And to Falls Prevention

Besides being the official first day of fall, yesterday, 22 September, was National Falls Prevention Awareness Day – as it has been for the past nine years.

Wait. Let me back up a bit first.

For readers who have been coming around here for a year and more, this will look familiar. I publish a falls prevention story every year at this time and maybe, like me, you feel that you have read it recently.

That's the age-old problem for old people of time passing so quickly as the birthdays pile up. In my case, I have no idea anymore how long ago any given thing happened. I've taken to telling people, when I use the word “recently,” that it could mean anything from six months ago to ten years ago.

However, in the case of falls prevention, familiarity and repetition are a good thing. If you don't think so, take a look at just a few of the statistics about falls in regard to people who are 65 and older. From the National Council on Aging (NCOA):

One third of all people 65 and older fall each year

Every 11 minutes, an old person is admitted to an emergency room for treatment for a fall

Every 19 minutes, an old person dies as the result of a fall

Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of non-fatal, trauma-related hospital admissions among people 65 and older

Every year, the NCOA holds a competition for short videos from amateurs about falls prevention. Here is the first place winner of the 2015 Falls Free® video contest:

There are more Falls Free® contest videos here.

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) has an excellent page about what you can do personally to keep yourself from falling, along with a list of items for fall-proofing your home. It's a good reminder to check your home for falling and tripping hazards at least once a year.

This infographic (below and online here) is from the NCOA about falls prevention programs you may be able to find in your community:

Falls-Prevention-Programs-Saving-Lives-Saving-Money_NCOA-Infographic

There are so many medical and physical problems over which we have little or no control – unexpected diseases and conditions that seem to choose victims randomly. Falling is one thing in life we can go a long way toward preventing.

So don't forget, be careful out there.

Comments

I'm 73. I've participated in a Tai Chi class once a week for a year and can feel the difference in my balance - I can stand on one foot without toppling over for instance. This exercise also helps reduce pain in my arthritic hips. I'm scheduled for a hip replacement next month and the first question I asked is when can I get back to Tai Chi.

More than the cold, the potential for falls has become the biggest reason i dread the winter here in the midwest. With eleven cement and three wooden stairs from my car to my house, we have to lay up sidewalk salt as our main cold-weather provision. Thanks for the reminders and all the resources Ronni.

The problem with all the reminders about fall prevention ... it's made me almost paranoid about falling, and I don't like the feeling (especially since I live alone). Every time I go to the doctor, the first question they ask is "Have you fallen?" It's like they expect me to have fallen. I wish they'd stop it! I'm aware of all the hazards. I bought a single-story home with those in mind. I don't yet have balance problems, nor do any of my meds make me dizzy. I'm careful about not tripping over the pets. I don't leave things on the floor that might trip me. I watch my footing when I'm outdoors. I wear sturdy shoes with non-slip soles.

This once-a-year reminder is appreciated and sufficient. Now if only everyone else would leave me alone the rest of the year.

Hah! What I picked up on in your piece today, Ronni, was the I-can't-remember-how-long-ago-anything-happened-anymore part. God, I hate that. But--I'm thrilled to know I have company.

As usual, your post was informative and interesting, Ronnie.

I gave up on "recently" a long time ago. Now, it's always, "a while back...".

:)


Falling? Been there; done that more times than I can count. Sometimes I have been lucky with just my dignity suffering. However, the times that I was not lucky have been disastrous.

I have broken my shoulder, my hip, my head and a vertebrae. And, although I am a fanatic about eliminating scatter rugs and other obstacles that might trip me, I still fall. A poor sense of balance is the culprit.

The E. R. guys all know the way to my house now and I have made good use of my panic button.

I have not, sorry to say, taken up Tai Chi or done the balance exercises faithfully as I know I should. So I rely on a walker to keep me upright. I think another fall might be one too many, so I am not pushing my luck.

Take it from an experienced "fall gal" it's not much fun. And I seem to age much faster with each succeeding tumble.


A great reminder, with some great information. I tell people that everyone should have grab bars in their bathroom, no matter what their age. I know plenty of people in their 40s and 50s who've taken nasty spills. That . . . and keep those stairs clean, well-lighted and clutter free!

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