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:
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.