September is National Falls Prevention Month
JFCS Senior Services can help mitigate risk of falling for you or a loved one
By Annette Sandler • Aging Services Director
Falls can drastically change a person’s ability to remain independent and can generate enormous economic and personal costs. A fall for an older adult can forever change their quality of life. According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- One-fourth of Americans age 65+ fall each year.
- Every 11 seconds an older adult is treated in an emergency room for a fall.
- Every 19 seconds an older adult dies from a fall.
- Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.
- The annual cost of fall injuries is nearly $65 billion.
Not only falling, but also the fear of falling can change how an older adult participates in social activities and engagements. The fear of falling, especially in places like Minnesota where winters are long and cold, causes people to withdraw from their normal activities. This can result in physical decline, depression and social isolation.
Not all falls are preventable, but there are some precautions you can take:
- Make sure you have good lighting around your home, especially on staircases
- Remove extra clutter
- Repair any trip hazards
- Install grab bars and handrails
- Wear shoes – socks can be a slipping hazard
- Slow down – notice your surroundings
- In the winter, walk like a penguin, feet slightly apart, arms out to the side, and take small shuffling steps
- Sign up for a falls prevention program
- If your doctor has recommended that you use a walker or a cane, use it. Your vanity about using the adaptive equipment is not worth the change a fall will cause.
If you are afraid of falling or think your loved one is at risk of falling, JFCS Senior Services can help. JFCS provides Care Coordination, Caregiver Coaching and Care Plan consultations. With any of these services, our Care Coordinators can help evaluate the risk of falls for you or your loved one, provide you with language that helps have a conversation with your loved one, or provide referrals to appropriate resources to help with your situation. For more information, call us at 952-546-0616 or click here.