Falls Prevention Awareness Month – Age Safe® Live Well.
Many years ago Age Safe® America coined the slogan, “A Fall Changes Everything”. Sadly, this is very true, and happens every day. In an instant you or a loved one could slip, fall, and lose your independence in the blink of an eye. As you can tell from everything on the Age Safe America website, we believe that falls (the leading cause of accidental death among older adults) are a preventable epidemic. That means that we believe there are steps (no pun intended, dear readers!) that each of us can take to prevent falls and minimize the risks to ourselves and everyone else in our personal, business, and social life. Please join us in this nationwide effort to raise awareness that falls are not a normal part of aging, and preventable.
Falls Prevention Awareness Day is always at the start of the fall season; and this year it is on September 22. This is a very serious matter that we all need to be paying attention to for ourselves and family members of all ages. Falls can be more dangerous than they might seem. They can cause bruising, hip fractures, and head injuries, and these accidents have the potential to be fatal, especially for the elderly which means extra attention is necessary to make sure they’re protected. One of our advisory board members told me one day; for a long and happy life you only need to remember one thing… DON’T FALL.
Take the first step and review these home safety tips for seniors to Age Safe® Live Well.
I would like to describe three of the falls that I have taken. I have actually fallen more than three times and can statistically protect at least 18 of you! The first fall of significance was in a parking lot. I parked my car, hopped out in a hurry, looked at the two doors of the store I needed to enter, tried to decide which door was quickest and I failed to notice the speed bump with large yellow diagonal stripes in the parking lot. I tripped and fell face first onto the pavement, luckily only tearing up my left wrist. Even more luckily, the taco truck driver saw me fall as he turned into the lot and did not run over me! He helped me up, the store owner gave me a band aid for my wrist and I went onto my next appointment- a bit bloodied but no worse for the wear, as they say.
Another time I was walking the dog in the morning and yes, there are some uneven spots on the sidewalk but I have walked this route daily for two years. As I glance at the landscaper balancing while weeding on a hillside, I tripped and fell into the prickly bushes, planted neatly to encourage walkers to stay on the sidewalk. The landscaper graciously helped me up and again, I believed I was no worse for the wear.
More recently, two days before moving to a different home, I was putting the bird seed out early in the morning. The hanging planter that was secured to a brick with a piece of fishing line so as to not blow around during big windstorms had been shifted a few inches as things are when you are packing to move. My slipper caught the fishing line and I fell headfirst into the sliding glass door, smacking my head and giving myself a bit of a concussion. This time, I knew this had not ended well. I was fine within a day or so and the pack and move was successful.
I share this detail with you because sometimes it is these simple accidents or simple distractions that can have serious consequences. We need to be vigilant about our surroundings and our actions, inside and outside our homes. We need to reach out to professionals to be that extra set of eyes, trained to look for hazards (like fishing line tied to a brick!) and to help us find and better yet, implement the solutions to minimize the chances of taking the first fall!
You can also visit the National Council on Aging (NCOA) website to learn more about Falls Prevention Awareness Week, and find tools and resources to help promote this national health campaign with the goal of increasing awareness around falls health and injury prevention.