Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) staffers are walking this September to raise awareness about fall prevention.
Falls are the leading cause of injury for older adults. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one out of four Americans age 65 and over experiences a fall each year, resulting in more than 3 million emergency room visits.
Fortunately, falls are not inevitable. Fall Prevention Awareness Week starts Sept. 18, and SCES is marking the occasion by raising awareness and sharing useful information throughout the month.
The CDC recommends the following steps to reduce the risk of falls:
Talk to Your Doctor
- Ask your doctor or healthcare provider to evaluate your risk for falling and talk with them about specific things you can do.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines to see if any might make you dizzy or sleepy. This should include prescription medicines and over-the counter medicines.
- Ask your doctor or healthcare provider about taking vitamin D supplements.
Do Strength and Balance Exercises
Do exercises that make your legs stronger and improve your balance. Tai Chi is a good example of this kind of exercise.
Have Your Eyes Checked
Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year, and be sure to update your eyeglasses if needed.
Make Your Home Safer
- Get rid of things you could trip over.
- Add grab bars inside and outside your tub or shower and next to the toilet.
- Put railings on both sides of stairs.
- Make sure your home has lots of light by adding more or brighter light bulbs.
- Keep items you use often in cabinets you can reach easily without using a step stool.
- Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors.
For the third straight year, the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) is coordinating a step challenge, to raise awareness on this issue and promote exercise.
The statewide goal for this effort is 45 million steps in the month of September. Our team at SCES is looking forward to doing our part in this effort.
If you would like to join in, post your photos, walk results, and comments on Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #MASteps2PreventFalls. If you tag our social media accounts, we’ll be sure to update EOEA on your contributions.
SCES will provide updates throughout the month, along with more information on this important issue. Together we can help raise awareness and encourage everyone to take simple steps to avoid falls.
Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services is a non-profit agency that supports the independence and well-being of older adults in Somerville and Cambridge. For free advice and guidance on questions of aging, caregiving or disability, contact our Aging Information Center at 617-628-2601, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website eldercare.org.