News

Falls Prevention Awareness – Falls CAN be prevented. Start a conversation, make a plan.

September 17, 2021

By Dr. Victoria Panzer and Ms. Lori Clary

Across Washington, September 20 – 24, 2021 is Falls Prevention Awareness Week (FPAW).   Many things have changed this year with the challenges of COVID-19, but one thing hasn’t changed… Each year more than 25% of all older adults in Washington will fall.  Some falls are minor, while others may result in serious injury, loss of independence and changes in mobility. But a fall can be a silent warning that it’s time to do something to prevent future falls.

Here’s some things to think about:

  • Have you fallen more than once in the last year?
  • Have you been injured in a fall in the last year?
  • Have you fallen in the past 3 months?
  • Do you find that you sometimes lose your balance or nearly fall?

If you can answer Yes to any one of these questions, you’re at increased risk of falls.

There are lots of things that you can do to prevent falls and here in Washington we have a number of excellent programs and services to help you find the right answer for YOU.  Programs available include: A Matter of Balance, FallsTalk, Stay Active & Independent for Life (SAIL), Tai Chi/Moving for Better Balance. Now is the time to get started by understanding your risk of falling and finding a path forward that suits your personal needs and lifestyle.  You can complete many of these programs remotely, and some only need a telephone to participate!

Descriptions of these and other programs can be found on the WA Department of Health (DOH) website:  www.doh.wa.gov/findingourbalance

Click on the Senior Safety button for a short description of each program.

 

Other steps that you can take to prevent falls:

Talk to your doctor Even if you only notice an occasional loss of balance and don’t think that falls are a serious problem, your doctor can address many concerns and help you to know what medical steps may be necessary to reduce your risk for falls;

Check your medications Ask your pharmacist if anything that you are taking could increase your risk of falling;

Exercise Think about starting or changing your exercise program to include balance as well as strength and flexibility elements.

Take a look around your home Are there places where you have overlooked a fall hazard?

 

Information and Resources:

On the DOH website www.doh.wa.gov/findingourbalance you’ll find many other resources.  Click on the Falls Prevention Awareness Toolkit or email findingourbalance@doh.wa.gov and Lori Clary, Older Adult Falls Prevention Specialist will email information to you.

More ideas and resources can be found with these links:

 

During this FPAW find out more about falls prevention opportunities near you: 

Contact Aging & Long Term Care of Eastern Washington by phone (509) 458-2509 extension 217 or by email: action@ALTCEW.org.

 

Remember… Only you can prevent yourself from falling