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.
Move Over on the Road: It Could Save a Life posted on Oct 6
Driving. It’s something many of us take for granted as part of our day-to-day lives. Many of us also drive for work, even if only occasionally. But did you know, that in Massachusetts, 74 workers were killed in motor vehicle related events from 2007-2014? Forty-six …Continue Reading Move Over on the Road: It Could Save a Life
Celebrate with Whole Grains in September! posted on Sep 29
by Jennifer Mayer & Terri Mendoza September marks Whole Grains Month! You probably already know that whole grains are an important part of a healthy diet. Here are just a few reasons why keeping the grain whole is worth celebrating: Whole grains are high in …Continue Reading Celebrate with Whole Grains in September!
September Is Suicide Prevention Month posted on Sep 21
September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and there is no better time to begin or renew our commitment to taking care of ourselves and each other. Too many people have been affected by the tragedy of suicide, either directly or indirectly, and we in the …Continue Reading September Is Suicide Prevention Month