Learn to prevent falls
SCOTTSBLUFF – Falls are a leading cause of injury for older adults. They threaten seniors’ safety and independence, and generate enormous economic and personal costs. In recognition of Fall Prevention Awareness Day on Sept. 22, Regional West encourages older adults to take a few simple steps in order to prevent falls.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 800,000 hospitalizations and more than 27,700 deaths. Adjusted for inflation, the annual direct medical cost for fall injuries nationwide is estimated at $31 billion.
The good news is that falls are not an inevitable part of aging and many are preventable.
First, participate in a balance and exercise program that builds strength and flexibility. Regularly review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure side effects don’t increase your risk of falling. Take medications only as prescribed. Have your vision and hearing checked annually. Keep your home safe: remove tripping hazards, increase lighting, and if necessary, install grab bars in key areas.
“Anyone, young or old, can fall, but older adults are more susceptible to accidental falls that result in serious injuries. We encourage staying active to improve balance and coordination and to learn how to spot and reduce risks for falling,” said Community Health Director Paulette Schnell, RN, MSN.
Throughout the year, Regional West Community Health, in partnership with the Scotts Bluff County Health Department, offers free community education classes that assist in preventing falls. These classes include Stepping On and Tai Chi. For more information about fall prevention or classes, call Regional West Community Health at 308-630-1580.