What is Falls Prevention Awareness Week?
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) recognizes the week of September 18th – 22nd as “Falls Prevention Awareness Week”, a nationwide health campaign to raise awareness that falls are not a normal part of aging. Falls are preventable with the right knowledge and tools, which is why this year’s theme is “From Awareness to Action.”
Take Control of Your Health: 6 Ways to Prevent Falls in Older Adults
According to NCOA, an older adult is seen in an emergency department for a fall-related injury every 11 seconds. They recommend trying some of these tips to prevent falls:
- Find a good balance and exercise program – look to build balance, strength, and flexibility. Find a program you like and take a friend.
- Talk to your health care provider – ask for a fall risk assessment. Share your history of recent falls.
- Regularly review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist – make sure side effects aren’t increasing your risk of falling. Take medications only as prescribed.
- Get your vision and hearing checked annually and update your eyeglasses – your eyes and ears are key to keeping you on your feet.
- Keep your home safe – remove tripping hazards, increase lighting, make stairs safe, and install grab bars in key areas.
- Talk to your family members – enlist their support in taking simple steps to stay safe. Falls are not just a seniors’ issue.
How Age Well Promotes Fall Prevention “From Action to Awareness”
Age Well provides the necessary tools and fall prevention education to help older adults age safely and gracefully. Chris Moldovan, Age Well’s Nutrition & Wellness Director, shares how Age Well works to prevent falls:
“Age Well works closely with other members of the Falls Free Vermont Coalition, building statewide programming to support Older Vermonter with Falls Prevention in Chittenden, Addison, Franklin, and Grand Isle Counties. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, ‘over 10,000 people in the United States turn 65 every day. The number of falls and fall injuries will increase as the population of older adults grows. Death rates from falls have increased about 30% in the last decade. Healthcare costs are also on the rise. In one year alone, medical costs for falls are about $50 billion.’”
Prevent Falls with Tai Chi
One of the best ways to maintain your health and balance is through Tai Chi. Endorsed by The Arthritis Foundation and the CDC, Tai Chi is an evidence-based health program that reduces stiffness and pain, keeping joints mobile. According to the National Council on Aging, the goals of Tai Chi in aging adults are to:
- Improve movement, balance, strength, flexibility, immunity, and relaxation
- Decrease pain and falls
- Allow for socialization and sustainability
Age Well offers an array of wellness and fall prevention programs for seniors throughout Northwestern Vermont, including Tai Chi classes. We provide beginners’ classes for individuals who are 60+ years of age. Taught by certified trainers, there is no charge for these classes, but donations are gratefully received.
Wellness classes are offered in-person and online. For more information, please call the Helpline at 1-800-642-5119.
Ask Us About the HomeMeds Program
Age Well also offers Home Medication Assessment through the HomeMeds program, an in-home medication assessment tool that identifies risks and ensures that current medications are being appropriately taken and updated.
At least 25% of all medication-related accidents and health problems are preventable. Age Well staff use the HomeMeds program to promote safer medication routines through 5 steps:
- Age Well’s transition team conducts a risk screening to identify potential errors and medication-related problems.
- Any potential medication risks or identified problems alert the Care & Service Coordinator to notify Age Well’s designated pharmacist.
- The pharmacist reviews and develops an action plan of recommendations to address the identified alerts.
- The pharmacist advises the client or caregiver and the Care & Service Coordinator of the medication concerns so that they can be discussed with the physician.
- Physicians are able to review all compiled data and update the client’s treatment regime if an issue is revealed.
Try Free Online Classes with GetSetUp
Age Well has also partnered with GetSetUp, an online learning channel that provides Vermont residents who are 60 and older with free access to live interactive online classes taught by older adults for older adults. Learners can choose from a catalog of over 3,000 classes that shift weekly and are available around the clock for the next year, but they also provide classes that could help prevent falls, including Tai Chi and Yoga. To learn more about GetSetUp and practice fall prevention at home, visit https://www.getsetup.io/partner/vermont.
Connect with Age Well on social media and let us know how you are learning or helping others, to build a stronger community that prevents falls. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
If you or someone you know has an aging parent, grandparent, or neighbor, helping them reduce their risk of falling is a great way to help them stay healthy and independent as long as possible. For any questions or concerns, call the Helpline at 1-800-642-5119.
More Resources on Falls Prevention for Older Adults
- Age Well Falls Prevention Risk Assessment – https://www.agewellvt.org/services/health-wellness/falls-prevention/
- National Council on Aging: Debunking the Myths of Older Adult Falls
- National Council on Aging: Falls Free Check Up: See if you are at risk for falls – https://www.ncoa.org/age-well-planner/assessment/falls-free-checkup