It’s Autumn – Time to Think About Fall Prevention

It’s Autumn – Time to Think About Fall Prevention


I haven’t met the right person,” he said in answer to my question: “Have you fallen this week?” I think I almost blushed. His eyes were twinkling. His sense of humor is so wonderful.

 {Read in 3 minutes}  Frank is a member of a health and wellness program where about 150 seniors meet each week to test their blood pressure, check their weight, and take a Fitbit reading as part of our efforts to encourage walking and additional activities. Why? Because approximately one in four seniors (people over age 65, let’s say) take a fall, which can result in a serious injury and loss of independence.

September is Fall Prevention Month, but fall prevention is important all year for seniors.

There are a lot of different reasons why people might fall, so what do we do to keep loved ones safe? Look at their environment; clear pathways of clutter or rugs that might slip; install brighter light bulbs to see better. Consider any chronic conditions and review medications to learn about potential side effects that may cause dizziness. Encourage physical activities: going to the gym, walking the dog, going to the senior center — and encourage active participation in social activities.

It’s important to understand how you can prevent a loved one from falling by just looking at a few of the issues that might contribute to a fall.

  • What medications are they taking? Some medications might cause a little dizziness, or fluctuations in blood pressure. It’s a good idea to check with their pharmacist and doctor if they are taking multiple medications, in case any are contraindicated.
  • Checking the environment for clutter. A lifetime of collecting often needs editing. It’s important to clear pathways. If you love that runner, be sure there is a rubber anti-skid protection pad underneath it.
  • Brighten up the home. Consider installing higher wattage light bulbs. It’s easier to see if the lights are brighter, which helps people to avoid obstacles that could cause a fall.
  • Annual checkups. Primary care, vision, and hearing checkups are a good idea.
  • Consider a personal alert system. If you’re worried about a loved one falling, it might be time to get a personal alert system. There are some nice ones with GPS locators that can be worn on the wrist.
  • Prepare for snow and ice. With winter coming, icy sidewalks can be treacherous. It is not too soon to think about stocking up on salt and/or ice melt.

Remember, in the space of a moment, your loved one can turn, slip and end up breaking a hip. A fall like that could remove their independence and ability to live on their own. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Staying active is a really important part of maintaining balance and core strength. Encourage the seniors in your life to stay active — walking, exercising, doing Zumba, or yoga (even if it is chair yoga). Staying physically fit helps maintain a better sense of balance, which is an important factor in preventing falls.

Kathleen Bordelon
Executive Director
203.324.6584 x 301

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