Fall Prevention Month

Sequoia Living Recognizes National Fall Prevention Month

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) recognizes September as National Fall Prevention Month. While falls are prevalent, they are largely preventable. If you or a friend has fallen, you’re not alone. More than one in four people age 65 years or older falls each year. To help reduce fall risk and to prevent their consequences, Sequoia Living focuses on measures year-round to keep older adults safe and healthy.

 

For older adults, a simple oversight around the home can have life-changing consequences and there are things that put you at a higher risk of falling. To learn the facts and to help debunk myths about falls, view this article.

 

Why are falls so prevalent?

Things like tripping on a rug or uneven ground, slipping on a wet floor, or wearing inadequate shoes can lead to falls. Also contributing are medication, vision impairment, poor lighting, balance problems, and chronic conditions, many of these factors play a significant role in increasing risk of an accidental fall.

According to the NCOA, “More than 36 million adults 65+ fall each year, resulting in more than 32,000 deaths. Every year, about 3 million older adults are treated in emergency departments for a fall injury, with one out of every five falls causing an injury, such as broken bones or a head injury. Each year, at least 300,000 older adults are hospitalized for hip fractures caused by falling.”

Fall Prevention Webinar

For additional fall prevention resources and tips, watch our recent webinar with Dr. Chris Thompson. Click below to learn how to add movement into your daily routine to help strengthen your body and reduce falls risk.

Movement

As we age, our body naturally loses strength and potentially affects our balance, but movement can help improve your physical well-being. ​​​​​​​Exercising, managing your medications, having your vision checked, and making your living environment safer are all steps you can take to prevent a fall.

For more on how movement and exercise help our body remain strong and reduce fall risks, view our recorded webinar on Click to Watch.

If you need tips on how to stay motivated to exercise, click here.

Get Your Assessment

Get your assessment and learn your risk, along with fall prevention resources that you can use yourself or share with friends or a neighbor. Click below to take the assessment and learn if you are within the normal or high risk range.

Nutrition

You might be wondering, why is nutrition an important aspect of a fall prevention strategy? Older adults have unique nutritional needs, making it essential for them to eat a wide variety of healthy foods. Proper nutrition helps to maintain strength, muscle mass, and helps keep blood sugar levels even.

For a list of superfoods exclusively for seniors, click here, or for quick tips on how to make better food choices, click here. As a reminder, making better food choices, helps your body remain energetic, alert and reduces your risk of falling. Also keep in mind that dehydration has the added risk of mental confusion which can contribute to falls, so drinking water is important.

Unused Medication

It is important to keep in mind that unused prescription drugs can find their way into the wrong hands. That’s dangerous and often tragic. Participate in a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Campaign, where thousands across the country clean out their medicine cabinets and turn in – safely and anonymously – a record amount of prescription drugs.

For a Bay Area location near you, click here.

Click here for details on what medications increase the risk of falling among older adults.

Other contributing factors we will discuss include:

  • Home hazards
  • Medication or supplement
  • Alcohol
  • Physical Activity

The good news is, there are simple ways to prevent most falls. Here are a few simple steps you can take to reduce your risk of falling. Fall prevention program encourages exercise, strength training, balance exercises and medication compliance. View our recorded webinar (Stay Strong. Stay Fit. Stay Balanced.) to learn more about the importance of incorporating strength training and exercises to reduce your risk of falling, Click to Watch.

Fall Prevention | Sequoia Living

Medications & Supplements

As we get older, oftentimes, so does the number of medications and supplements we consume.

Medication and supplements or herbal remedies might not be top of mind when we think of our risk of falling, but the cocktail of medications can have serious side effects such as sedation, confusion, and loss of balance. The combinations of both over-the-counter and prescribed drugs, can increase the risk of falling. That’s why pharmacists play an important part of any falls prevention strategy. When you pick up your medications, use the opportunity to ask questions and get counseled about any side effects you’re experiencing. Also, be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, supplements or herbal remedies you are taking.

Home Hazards

Most falls can have serious effects on the health, safety, and independence of older adults, and often happen at home caused by hazards like loose rugs, clutter, and poor lighting, which can increase the risk for trips or falls.

According to NCOA, “Falls are by far the most common product-related cause of injuries and deaths to older Americans.” To read more about hidden home hazards among older adults more likely to cause falls, visit here.

  • Install handrails on both sides of any stairs in your home.
  • Keep floors cleared and slip-resistant.
  • Keep stairs well-lit and free of clutter.
Happy Hour

Alcohol

To drink or not to drink? We hear a glass of red wine may reduce the risk of heart disease, might boost antioxidants and increase the “good” cholesterol (HDL), and yet, alcohol has also been known to increase the risk for other health conditions.

The bottomline is that carefully balancing benefits and risks is key, especially when taking medication. Alcohol interacts in possibly dangerous ways with a number of medications, including acetaminophen, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, painkillers and sedatives. These interactions can heighten your risk of drowsiness, decreased reaction time, fatigue, which all increase your chances of an accidental fall. For more information on drinking and healthy aging, click here.

Physical Activity

Physical activity is a great and effective way to reduce the risk of falling. It is also so much more!

According to NCOA, being active is one of the simplest ways people can improve and maintain their health. Physical activity has been shown to reduce risk and support self-management of many chronic conditions, improve sleep, boost immune responses, and foster better mental health and general well-being.

Gait and Balance training, muscle strengthening, walking or swimming will help keep you strong and sturdy.

To recap what we have covered, preventing falls should not be a solo effort, you can reach out to your team of medical professionals, caregivers and family to help. To learn more about this team effort strategy, click here to view an informative video.

The reality is that one-third of older adults fall every year in the U.S. The good news is that most falls are preventable. Start by reviewing these six easy steps: English or Spanish.

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