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TIP OF THE MONTH- Fall Prevention in the Fall
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one third of adults ages 65 and older fall each year in the United States. Falls are the leading cause of deaths due to injuries and the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma for the aging population.1 Nearly all of us know someone in this age group whether they are in our family, work, friends or neighborhoods. There are a few simple things that will help maintain the health and safety of our "Experienced" population.
1. Eliminate room hazards. Hazards in the home are one of the leading causes of falls in older adults. Steps like removing throw rugs, organizing electrical cords, and installing hand rails can all help to reduce the risk of falling.
2. Exercise. Illnesses or medical conditions often lead to less physical activity. Less physical activity quickly leads to weakness, deconditioning and a fear of falling. These will cycle back and likely inhibit a sedentary senior from being physically active. Break the cycle by advocating for activity. A physical therapist can help generate an individualized home exercise program to address weaknesses, difficulty walking and balance disorders.
3. Medications review. Ask your health care provider to review your medications (both prescription and over the counter) to reduce side effects and drug interactions.
If you have further questions contact your local health care provider and/or physical therapist.
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Falls among older adults: An overview. Accessed at http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Falls/adultfalls.html on September 16, 2010.