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(September 19, 2022, Salisbury, MD) This week, September 18-24, is Falls Prevention Awareness Week. Falls prevention is a national public health concern. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over one in four Americans age 65+ falls each year. Here are several factors that can lead to a fall:

  • loss of balance, coordination, and flexibility, usually through inactivity;
  • declines in vision that make tripping hazards harder to see;
  • medications that can cause dizziness or dehydration;
  • obstacles in the environment; and
  • chronic conditions.

Falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults, but many falls are preventable. The National Council on Aging lists six steps people can take to prevent falls.

  1. Finding a good balance and exercise program can help to build strength and improve balance. The local Area Agency on Aging can make recommendations (macinc.org).
  2. Talking to a health care provider can help patients understand their risk for falls and create a plan to avoid falls.
  3. Regularly reviewing medications with a doctor or pharmacist can ensure that side effects are not increasing the risk for falls.
  4. Getting vision and hearing checked annually is key to avoiding obstacles in the environment.
  5. Keeping one’s home safe is important. Remove tripping hazards, increase lighting, and install grab bars.
  6. Asking for support from family members, friends, and neighbors will help keep everyone safe. Preventing falls is a team effort!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The National Council on Aging offers an online Falls Free CheckUp. By completing the short survey, individuals can understand their risk, or the risk of a loved one, and get tips for preventing falls. Go to ncoa.org/fallsfreecheckup to take the survey. For a Spanish version of the survey, visit https://www.ncoa.org/article/falls-free-checkup-espanol.

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