PDT Staff Writer
Today marks not only the first day of fall, but is also recognized as the 5th annual Falls Prevention Day. The purpose is to decrease the number of falls for the elderly population.
According to the National Council on Aging, every 15 seconds, an older adult is seen in an Emergency Department for a fall-related injury. Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for those aged 65 and over.
“Falls among older Ohioans can negatively affect an individual’s health and sense of security, but can also have an impact on the entire family,” says Pamela K. Matura, Executive Director of the Area Agency on Aging District 7. “We’re using the first day of autumn to mark the beginning of an ongoing effort to help Ohioans become aware of the risks and do what they can to prevent them. Doing so will help our older neighbors remain safely in their homes and our community.”
AAA7, in conjunction with the Ohio Older Adult Falls Prevention Coalition and the directors of the Ohio Departments of Aging and Health combined to recognize this day as Falls Prevention Awareness Day, to encourage all individuals in AAA7’s 10-county District to use the autumn season to educate themselves and their loved ones about the risk of falls and fall-related injury that increases as we age.
The AAA7 covers Adams, Brown, Gallia, Highland, Jackson, Lawrence, Pike, Ross, Scioto and Vinton Counties.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 percent of adults age 65 and older living in the community, and more than half of all older adults who live in residential care facilities or nursing homes, fall each year.
Falls are the leading cause of hospital admissions for trauma in older adults. Risk factors for falls include poor health status, prescription drug interactions, impaired cognitive function, use of alcohol, history of falls, and impaired vision.
According to the Areas Agency on Aging, there are five preventative measures that can be implemented to avoid falls. The first is to increase activity through regular exercise such as walking or swimming at least 15 minutes a day for muscle strength and good balance.
Maintaining annual vision examinations. Age-related eye diseases, such as cataracts, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, can increase the risk of falling.
Awareness of side effects from medications such as dizziness or drowsiness can decrease risk of falls. Talking with a doctor or pharmacist about the proper use of medications.
Removal of all environmental hazards, such loose rugs, unsteady furniture, and slippery floors.
Lastly, is think, plan and slow down. Falls can be avoid if a person slows down, and thinks through the task at hand. This in and of itself can safeguard a person from a fall.
Those interested in learning more can call toll-free at 1-800-582-7277 (TTY: 711). Information is also available on www.aaa7.org, or the Agency can be contacted through e-mail at email@example.com. The Agency also has a Facebook page located at www.facebook.com/AreaAgencyOnAgingDistrict7.
Portia Williams may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 234 or firstname.lastname@example.org