Don’t Let a Fall Trip You Up
September is Fall Prevention Month
CASTRO VALLEY, Calif. — According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults in the U.S. Locally, more than 1,300 people were treated in 2018 for injuries sustained in falls by the trauma department at Eden Medical Center, part of the Sutter Health not-for-profit network of care. And that total does not include less severe fall injuries treated in Eden’s emergency department or at other local hospitals, nor does it include people who fell without injury and did not seek care from a medical provider. Falls are clearly a big problem. How can you or someone you care about avoid injury from a fall?
How to Prevent Falls
Go for a checkup. While falls can happen at any age, 41 percent of the fall injuries treated last year in Eden’s trauma department were suffered by people over 55 years old. As people age, they may experience changes in vision, hearing and blood pressure that can put them at risk for a fall. But contrary to popular belief, falling is not a normal part of aging and should not be accepted as inevitable. All adults, but especially older adults, should have regular checkups with a care providers to monitor changes in their health and review medications.
Make a few minor changes to your daily routine, health and home. Add a little bit of exercise every day to increase muscular strength, flexibility and balance—all proven ways to prevent falls. Reduce the amount of alcohol you drink and eat a healthier diet to improve your health and help prevent falls. Install a grab bar in the bathroom and a nightlight in a dark hallway. If you use a ladder or step-ladder, be sure to follow all the safety precautions and have someone readily available to assist you.
Take a Free Class Designed
to Help Reduce Falls
Educating people about falls and fall prevention and helping them make healthy choices to improve their quality of life is the focus of Fall Prevention Month at Eden. The medical center is sponsoring two programs beginning in September, “Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention” and “Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns about Falls.” Both programs are offered to the community free of charge and are designed specifically to reduce falls by improving confidence, strength, flexibility and balance.
- “Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention” begins Monday, Sept. 16 from 8 a.m.-9 a.m., meeting every Monday and Wednesday through Nov. 20. Tai Chi is an ancient practice originating in China using graceful, slow movements that are low impact and suitable for those who are older or might not otherwise exercise. The movements learned in this 10-week class increase balance and strength and have been shown to reduce the risk of a fall by up to 70 percent.
- “Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns about Falls” begins Friday, Sept. 27 from 10 a.m.-noon, continuing each week through Nov. 15. This eight-week workshop combines discussion and exercise to reduce fear of falling and provide practical solutions to preventing falls.
These classes approach fall prevention in different ways but have the same goal of reducing falls. Classes are free, commitment to the full series is required and space is limited. For more information, discuss which class might be right for you, or to register, call Eden Medical Center Trauma Injury Prevention at 510-727-8485.