Falls Prevention Awareness Day

Falls Prevention Awareness Day

Falls are a serious problem, but preventing one from happening is within your power.

Falls Prevention is a multi-faceted interdisciplinary program designed to reduce the incidence of accidental falls for seniors. Falls Prevention Programs are imperative as falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non- fatal injuries in Florida adults over the age of 65.

Statistics reveal that one in three adults over the age of 65 falls annually and twenty to thirty percent of these “fallers” will sustain a life-altering injury, such as a broken hip. Even those who do not sustain a significant physical injury may find that their lives are changed because they fear a future fall.

Prevention is key – So why aren’t people talking about it?

  • Belief that falling is a “normal” part of aging. This is not true. There are simple steps older adults and their families can take to assess their fall risk and prevent falls from happening.
  • “I wasn’t hurt.” While an older adult who has fallen may not have been injured, falling can affect them in other non-visible ways. They may begin to limit their activities thinking that moving around less will reduce their risk of falling. In actuality, the opposite is true. Limiting physical activity leads to further loss of muscle strength, flexibility and balance – resulting in an even higher risk for falls.
  • “I’m afraid my family will put me in a nursing home.” Falls are preventable and it’s a team effort. Enlisting the help of an older adult’s doctor and family can result in a plan to evaluate and manage falls risks so they’re able to remain independent and active.

At Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (TMH), our evidence-based Falls Prevention Program is based on the American Geriatric Society's Clinical Fall Prevention Guidelines.

It consists of physicians and specialty-trained physical therapists, and specializes in the prevention of falls and injuries in older adults who have fallen or are at risk of falls.

Our effective program considers all aspects of Falls Prevention:

  • Medical conditions that cause confusion, like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
  • Physical deficits such as dizziness, poor balance and muscle weakness
  • Visual and sensory deficits
  • Medical problems such as low blood pressure or diabetes
  • Environmental risk factors

Falls are not inevitable, but there are extrinsic risk factors, commonly referred to as environmental risk factors, you can control to prevent falls.

Here are my top five tips to prevent falls in your home:

  1. Remove objects that you can trip over, including area rugs, cords, toys, etc.
  2. Use night lights or turn on a bedside lamp before getting out of bed when it is dark and do not walk outdoors at night without adequate lighting.
  3. Install grab bars in key areas such as the tub/shower and near the commode. Use a shower bench and hand-held shower if you have difficulty balancing in the shower.
  4. Do not walk in stockings or soft, slick slippers around the house.
  5. Participate in an exercise program. Look for programs that build strength, flexibility and balance.

If you or a loved one is concerned about falls risk, ask your doctor for a referral to TMH Physician Partners – Neurology. Our patients simply complete a screening questionnaire, see one of our board-certified neurologists, and when appropriate, are evaluated by a specially-trained physical therapist to meet their needs and provide the best possible outcome.

Interested in a free screening?

Join us at the Tallahassee Senior Center – located at 1400 N. Monroe Street – on Thursday, September 26 from 10 am – 12 pm for Falls Prevention Awareness Day. This community event is presented by TMH in partnership with the Tallahassee Senior Center and Foundation. To learn more, please contact Ruth Nickens at 850-891-4042.

For more information about Falls Prevention or the Falls Prevention Program at Tallahassee Memorial, please call TMH Physician Partners — Neurology at 850-431-5001 or visit our website.

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