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Attention News Room Managers: The clip provided includes a soundbite from Charity Menefee, DHHS Director of Public Health for Operations; YouTube: https://youtu.be/lnTGZSF4F_M
Lincoln – September 18-24 is Falls Prevention Week, a nationwide effort to raise awareness to seniors that falls are preventable. Falls Prevention Awareness Week reaches millions of older adults across the country with a simple message: You can take steps to prevent a fall.
Falls have been the foremost cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults, leading to serious injuries and increased risk of additional falls. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) hopes to change the trajectory of falls-related injuries by helping older adults gain the confidence and skills needed to prevent a fall.
The first step in preventing falls is having a fall risk assessment. This is an important first step to prevention, and includes a review of fall history, medications, underlying conditions, functional status tests, and environmental factors. Frequent falls are often caused by weak muscles; muscles gradually get weaker as people age, which affects strength and balance in an individual, and makes it more difficult to undertake daily activities.
As well as normal changes caused by aging, there are several reasons why muscles get weaker, including lack of physical activity and exercise. Poor eyesight and poor hearing can make a person more likely to fall. Poor lighting or throw rugs in your home can make you more likely to trip or slip. Falls matter; on average 15% of residents in long-term care have a history of a fall in the last 30 days. Approximately half of all residents will fall at least once per year.
A fall prevention program for an individual or a group should build feelings of security, safety, and confidence in the knowledge of one's own physical abilities and limitations as its goal. When older adults feel knowledgeable and in control, they are more likely to participate in fall prevention exercises. By introducing steps to reduce falls and improving a person's health and well-being, they will be more confident and outgoing in their day-to-day activities.
For more information, visit https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/prevent-falls-and-fractures