NDSU Extension - Sargent County

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Six Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Falls

Short List of Fall Prevention Strategies  11/9/18

 

Each year, one out of every four people 65 and older falls.  That statistic is alarming, especially since falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for people 65-plus.

In North Dakota, 822 fall-related deaths occurred among adults 65 and older from 2008 through 2017.  Fall-related deaths among older adults account for 89% of all fall-related deaths for all age groups in the state.

Falls threaten older adults’ safety and independence.  They also generate enormous economic and personal costs.

However, falling is not an inevitable result of aging. Because falls are largely preventable, it is important to do what we can to the risks for having a fall in the future.  To help reduce your risks for falls:

  1. Participate in a good exercise program that builds balance, strength and flexibility.
  2. Talk to your health-care provider and ask for an assessment of your risk of falling.
  3. Review your medications with your pharmacist or doctor to make sure their side effects aren’t increasing your risk of falling.
  4. Get your vision checked annually and update your eyeglasses as needed.
  5. Assess your home for fall hazards, then make it safer by increasing lighting, removing tripping hazards, installing grab bars, and etc.
  6. Assess your footwear for safety. Look for supportive shoes, a good fit, a sole that grips, and a heel that is grips and is stable.

Although strength begins to decrease after the age of 50, and decreases more rapidly after the age of 70, older adults do have a great capacity to increase muscle strength and balance.

Strong evidence supports the effectiveness of fall prevention programs, particularly those that target multiple risk factors. Stepping On, a fall-prevention workshop offered by North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension, is such a program.  It is designed for older adults who have fallen or have a fear of falling.

Once a week, over the course of seven weeks, Stepping On workshop participants get together in a small-group setting to learn balance and strength exercises and gain knowledge and skills to prevent falls.  The workshop empowers older adults to adopt healthy behaviors that reduce the risk of falls. 

Contact your county office of NDSU Extension for more information about the Stepping On program for fall prevention.

Source: Jane Strommen, NDSU Extension gerontology specialist

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/en/falling-tripping-forward-warning-98712/ (downloaded 9/17/19)

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