Take a Stand to Prevent Falls

Take a Stand to Prevent Falls

Your support in recovery

Did you know the sunshine state is one of the fastest growing states in the nation with a rapidly expanding senior population? How about that falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among seniors? With Fall Prevention Awareness Day approaching on September 23, we want to remind our community to be safe.

In 2013, the Florida Department of Health Injury Prevention Program reported:

  • 46,668 hospitalizations with non-fatal injuries
  • 145,958 emergency department visits with a non-fatal injury that resulted from a non-intentional fall
  • 2,317 fatal injuries as a result of a non-intentional fall

In 2013, Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare reported:

  • 362 hospitalizations
  • 1,368 emergency department visits
  • 25 deaths as the result of unintentional falls in Leon County

In 2013, the surrounding rural counties of Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Liberty, Madison, Taylor and Wakulla reported:

  • 264 hospitalizations
  • 966 emergency department visits
  • 16 deaths occurred as the result of unintentional falls

The most common injuries from these falls included traumatic brain injuries and arm, hip, spine and lower leg fractures. The majority of the falls (79%), occurred in or around a residence. The most common type of falls were, same-level falls which include slips, trips and stumbles.

These figures represent only the tip of the iceberg. Less than half of seniors will discuss a fall with their healthcare provider. Even seniors who are not physically injured in a fall may develop problems afterwards. These include fear of falling, being unable to continue social activities, reduced activity level with resulting weakness and depression. Finally, there is the population of seniors who have not yet fallen, but exhibit fear of falling, balance problems, or other preventable factors that increase the likelihood of a fall.

What can you do to keep your loved ones safe and prevent falls?

  1. Talk to your doctor about falling. Ask for an assessment of your risk of falling and how you can reduce your risk for osteoporosis.
  2. Exercise regularly. Your exercises should include leg strengthening, balance and flexibility exercises. Contact Premier Health & Fitness Center, your local Senior Center or join a gym to participate in activities and classes.
  3. Review medicines regularly (prescription and over the counter) with your doctor or pharmacist. Ask if any have side effects that may increase your risk of falls. Take medications only as prescribed.
  4. Have your eyes examined annually. Update your glasses when it is time to do so.
  5. Walk through your home and check for fall hazards. Remove tripping hazards, increase lighting and install grab bars.
  6. Change positions slowly. Stand for just a minute before you walk to be sure that you have your balance and aren’t feeling dizzy.
  7. Talk to your family about falls. Ask for help. Family members may be able to help you with your home assessment. Ask a family member to go with you to your exercise program… it’s more fun with company!

Join us for a Fall Prevention Fair & Screening

Wednesday 9/23/2015
9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Tallahassee Senior Citizen Center
1400 North Monroe Street

Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare’s Trauma and NeuroScience Centers are sponsoring the second annual TMH Fall Prevention Awareness Day. Experts from around Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare and the community will provide fall risk screenings as well as information on how to prevent falls. Screenings will include blood pressure checks, balance and strength screenings, vision screenings, and medication reviews. Experts will be available to provide information on fall prevention in the home. To register for the event, please call Teresa Hunter at 431-7009.

By: Teresa Hunter, Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare Physical Therapist

Comments are closed.