The first day of Fall is tomorrow and while the thought of football or yard work may cross your mind, state health officials would also like you to consider celebrating National Falls Prevention Awareness Day. The Indiana State Department of Health reports falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries in Indiana. In 2011, Hoosiers ages 65 and older suffered over 82-hundred falls that resulted in hospitalizations and there were 340 fatalities due to falls.
Five easy ways to prevent falls include:
· Increase your physical activity. Exercises like walking or swimming at least 15 minutes a day can help build muscle strength and improve balance, which can prevent falls. Exercise programs that increase strength and improve balance also help.
· See your eye doctor once every year. Age-related eye diseases, such as cataracts, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, can increase the risk of falling. Early detection is critical to minimizing the effects of these conditions.
· Review your medications. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the medicines you are taking and whether they may cause drowsiness or dizziness.
· Remove environmental hazards. Search your home for anything that could cause falls, including poor lighting, loose rugs, slippery floors and unsteady furniture. Remove or modify these hazards.
· Think, plan and slow down. Many falls are caused by hurrying. Slow down and think through the task you are performing.
Thirty percent of adults age 65 and older who live in the community fall each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That number increases to 50 percent for older adults who live in residential care facilities or nursing homes.
Indiana is part of the Falls Free© Coalition, which includes several states and national organizations, professional associations and federal agencies across the country dedicated to reducing fall-related injuries and deaths among older adults.
For more information on injury prevention, visit the Indiana State Department of Health’s website at www.StateHealth.in.gov.