Fall Prevention Awareness Week

Many people think falls are a normal part of aging. The truth is, they’re not. Most falls can be prevented—and you have the power to reduce your risk. Exercising, managing your medications, having your vision checked, and making your living environment safer are all steps you can take to prevent a fall.

To promote greater awareness and understanding, the Klamath Basin Senior Center will be observing National Falls Prevention Awareness week from September 18 – 24. Scroll down to the bottom for a Schedule of Events.

To get you started thinking about Fall Prevention, here are 10 common myths—and the reality—about older adult falls.

Myth 1: Falling happens to other people, not to me.
Reality: Many people think, “It won’t happen to me.” The truth is that 1 in 4 older adults fall every year in the U.S.

Myth 2: Falling is something normal that happens as you get older.
Reality: Falling is not a normal part of aging. Strength and balance exercises, managing your medications, having your vision checked and making your living environment safer are all steps you can take to prevent a fall. Join us at the Age Well Expo to learn more about how to do the listed activities in your community.

Myth 3: If I limit my activity, I won’t fall.
Reality: Some people believe that the best way to prevent falls is to stay at home and limit activity. Not true. Performing physical activities will actually help you stay independent, as your strength and range of motion benefit from remaining active. Social activities are also good for your overall health. Attend a class at the Center to improve your activity level, your balance and strength, and you’ll meet some new friends that you can enjoy being healthy with.

Myth 4: As long as I stay at home, I can avoid falling.
Reality: Over half of all falls take place at home. Inspect your home for fall risks. Fix simple but serious hazards such as clutter, throw rugs, and poor lighting. Make simple home modifications, such as adding grab bars in the bathroom, a second handrail on stairs, and non-slip paint on outdoor steps. If you attend the Age Well Expo, you can meet with an Occupational Therapist to discuss specific ways to adjust your home to reduce your risk of falling.

Myth 5: Muscle strength and flexibility can’t be regained.
Reality: While we do lose muscle as we age, exercise can partially restore strength and flexibility. It’s never too late to start an exercise program. Even if you’ve been a “couch potato” your whole life, becoming active now will benefit you in many ways—including protection from falls. Attend an exercise class at the Center to improve your strength and flexibility.

Myth 6: Taking medication doesn’t increase my risk of falling.
Reality: Taking any medication may increase your risk of falling. Medications affect people in many different ways and can sometimes make you dizzy or sleepy. Be careful when starting a new medication. Talk to your health care provider about potential side effects or interactions of your medications. Attend the Fall Prevention Seminar to learn more about how your medications may increase your risk for falls, and what you can do about it.

Myth 7: I don’t need to get my vision checked every year.
Reality: Vision is another key risk factor for falls. Aging is associated with some forms of vision loss that increase risk of falling and injury. People with vision problems are more than twice as likely to fall as those without visual impairment. Have your eyes checked at least once a year and update your eyeglasses. For those with low vision there are programs and assistive devices that can help. Ask your optometrist for a referral.

Myth 8: Using a walker or cane will make me more dependent.
Reality: Walking aids are very important in helping many older adults maintain or improve their mobility. However, make sure you use these devices safely. Have a physical therapist fit the walker or cane to you and instruct you in its safe use.

Myth 9: I don’t need to talk to family members or my health care provider if I’m concerned about my risk of falling. I don’t want to alarm them, and I want to keep my independence.
Reality: Fall prevention is a team effort. Bring it up with your doctor, family, and anyone else who is in a position to help. They want to help you maintain your mobility and reduce your risk of falling. That’s exactly why we are connecting you with community organizations, providers, and businesses that can support you in maintaining your independence at the Age Well Expo.

Myth 10: I don’t need to talk to my parent, spouse, or other older adult if I’m concerned about their risk of falling. It will hurt their feelings, and it’s none of my business.
Reality: Let them know about your concerns and offer support to help them maintain the highest degree of independence possible. There are many things you can do, including removing hazards in the home, finding a fall prevention program in the community, or setting up a vision exam. Family members, bring your loved ones to the Age Well Expo and to the Fall Prevention Education Seminar to learn more.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Sunday, September 18National Falls Prevention Awareness Week Begins!
Learn more about Falls Prevention from the National Council on Aging.
Monday, September 19Attend classes at the Senior Center that will improve your endurance, strength and flexibility.
9:00 am SAILing with Mary Noller
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm Yoga with Kim Carson
Tuesday, September 209:00 am SAIL with Anne Davenport
10:00 am – 10:30 am Check in for the Age Well Expo, enjoy breakfast and coffee.
10:30 am – 1:30 pm AGE WELL EXPO at the Senior Center
1:30 pm – 2:15 pm Sit, Breathe, and Smile (Seated Qi Gong) with Rachel Stephens
2:30 pm – 3:30 pm Qi Gong with Rachel Stephens
Wednesday, September 219:00 am SAILing with Mary Noller
2:30 pm – 3:30 pm Qi Gong with Rachel Stephens
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm Tai Chi with Andrew Hyun
6:00 – 8:00 pm Fall Prevention Education Seminar at the Community Health Education Center
Thursday, September 229:00 am SAIL with Anne Davenport
Friday, September 239:00 am SAILing with Mary Noller
7:00 pm Line Dancing with Fern Steers
Saturday, September 24Open at 10:00 am, call at 11:30 am Nickel BINGO
Open at 4:30 pm, call at 6:00 pm BINGO Fundraiser