This is Falls Prevention Awareness Week, and it’s a great time to discover everyone’s role in falls prevention.
Here are some suggestions from the National Council on Aging (NCOA) on how we can all work together to reduce the risk of falling:
An occupational therapist can ensure your assistive devices fit your needs and provide a professional assessment of the home to identify hazards to be removed and modifications to be made.
Family and friends can provide extra hands and another set of eyes to check a home to eliminate fall hazards such as poorly placed electrical cords, throw rugs, steep stairs and dim lighting.
Your primary care physician knows your medical history and helps manage chronic illnesses like diabetes and arthritis that may increase the likelihood of falling.
Providers can recommend evidence-based programs like A Matter of Balance, offered by our agency, designed to reduce the risk of falling. You should tell your doctor if you have fallen recently, feel wobbly on your feet or worry about falling.
Pharmacists are a free, ready resource for any falls prevention team. When people pick up their medications, they should ask about their possible side effects and report any changes to their health.
Physical therapists can help you improve your balance, strength and mobility to prevent falls. They can evaluate your daily routine to pinpoint ways to reduce falls.
The local fire department can play a key role in fall prevention by offering home safety checks to spot tripping hazards.
Senior centers can connect adults over 50 to a wide variety of community services, including access to transportation, nutrition and other benefits. Many offer health and fitness programs that encourage exercise and movement.
Hardware stores carry many supplies and materials, such as grab bars, that can upgrade a home to be a more safe, comfortable setting to age in place.
AgeSpan can help you find specific information about falls risk factors, and our staff members often know about local events and resources.
A sporting goods store is a great place to buy shoes, clothes and equipment to help you stay active.
During this Falls Prevention Awareness Week, check out the NCOA’s Falls Free CheckUp, a quick 12-question screen to help people better understand their risk for falling, at ncoa.org.