Falls Aren’t Child’s Play

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We all remember what happened to poor Humpty Dumpty in the childhood poem that tells the tale of his great fall, but we’re here to remind you that falls are not a joke.

Falls, particularly for senior citizens, are serious business and that’s why the National Council on Aging sponsors Fall Awareness Day each September and this, their 9th year, is on the 22nd. The day sheds light on the issue of falls among seniors and shares information about fall prevention.

Did you know that an older adult is treated in an emergency room every 13 seconds because of a fall? Older adults also die from falls every 20 minutes, though head injuries and broken hips tend to be the leading afflictions treated, according to NCOA (is there a link for this?) statistics. The financial impact of these falls is expected to reach $67.7 billion by 2020.

Other costs aren’t so apparent. Concerns about falling can lead to social isolation. Fear of falling can also mean a loss of muscle strength and mobility. Falls can also shorten a senior’s ability to live independently.

Since many falls occur in and around the house, here are a few preventative measures you can take to minimize the risk:

  • Do a house check and put away anything that you could trip over.
  • Remove throw rugs or securely fasten them to keep them from slipping.
  • Keep the items you use most often within reach so you don’t need to climb on a step stool or ladder.
  • Use grab bars and non-slip mats in bathtubs and showers.
  • Keep your rooms well lit.
  • Have and use handrails on stairs, and wear shoes because you’re less likely to slip.
  • Know where your pets are to avoid tripping over them.

You can also reduce your fall risk by having your eyes checked for things like cataracts and glaucoma, by being active to keep your bones strong and your balance good and by staying hydrated.

Investing in an alert system can also be one of your safest bets. There are many companies that provide bracelets or necklaces that can identify when their wearer has fallen, sends a signal to an emergency response line, which in turn, sends help.

Lastly, our therapists have years of treatment experience in fall prevention, balance training, gait analysis, home safety and assistive device training. We offer therapeutic exercise programs to improve muscle strength and re-education. Our occupational therapists assist with home safety and fall prevention assessment.

Our specialized programs are designed to improve recovery, encourage independence and promote a return to the highest quality of life. For more information contact us today at 925.271.9100 or visit us online.

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