Every year in America, one out of three people age 65 or older experiences a fall – and in Massachusetts, falls are the leading cause of injury death for this population. These are alarming statistics – but the personal toll of falls in older adults can be even more dramatic.
That’s because for those who survive a fall, serious injuries are frequently the result — including hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries. For some, this will lead to restricted independence and a permanent decline in their quality of life.
Even in the face of these unfortunate facts, there’s a surprising level of misunderstanding (even within some medical circles) about older people and falling…..that it’s something to be expected, like the wrinkling of skin and graying hair. Take a look at the National Council on Aging (NCOA) publication “Debunking the Myths of Older Adult Falls” to read some of the interesting misconceptions and erroneous beliefs about falls.
The important thing to know is that falls are preventable, and an upcoming event at the Massachusetts State House is devoted to explaining how.
On September 24th at 10am, the Massachusetts Falls Prevention Coalition will host the sixth annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day. Five years ago, NCOA began encouraging states to observe the first day of fall in September, as the ideal time of year to promote public awareness about falls prevention. The Massachusetts Coalition has adopted this year’s NCOA theme of “Standing Together to Prevent Falls” to highlight the need for a united effort from health care providers, public health professionals, community-based organizations, legislators, caregivers and elders themselves in focusing on falls and identifying the most effective ways to prevent them.
We hope you can join us for this important event. But in the meantime, there are several simple lifestyle changes that older adults and their families can make to reduce the risk of falls:
1) Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about your medications – some have negative side effects that can cause dizziness or alter balance and coordination;
2) Eat right – including lots of fruits and vegetables, and vitamin D supplements for bone strength);
3) Get regular vision exams – at least once a year because poor vision can increase your risk for falls;
4) Make your home safe – get rid of clutter, install handrails on both sides of stairwells, and remove throw rugs.
5) Stay physically active – your local Council on Aging may have additional resources and programs to help improve strength and balance, promote physical activity, and reduce a fear of falling such as A Matter of Balance.
Super Bowl Picnic! posted on Jan 26
Our much-beloved New England Patriots are contending for the Super Bowl this Sunday! And the big questions are…who will you watch the game with? What will the best commercial be? And, let’s face it—what goodies are we going to eat? Back in the days before …Continue Reading Super Bowl Picnic!
Weekly Flu Report, January 23, 2015 posted on Jan 23
The latest weekly flu report shows an increase in rates of flu-like illness during the past seven days. Flu season is certainly here in New England – but there are some simple, common-sense steps that you can take to keep from getting or spreading the …Continue Reading Weekly Flu Report, January 23, 2015
Weekly Flu Report, January 16, 2015 posted on Jan 16
The latest weekly flu report shows a slight decline in rates of flu-like illness over the past seven days. But flu is unpredictable, and we know from past years that flu season won’t likely peak in Massachusetts until February or March – so there’s still …Continue Reading Weekly Flu Report, January 16, 2015