Don’t Let a Fall Hold You Back
Sept. 22 is National Falls Prevention Awareness Day and the YMCA of Western North Carolina is joining the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and the Falls Free Coalition for 10 Years Standing Together to Prevent Falls, a day of action to help raise awareness and prevention of falls.
Each year, it’s estimated that one out of three Americans aged 65 or older will suffer a fall, leaving many of these adults with a fear of falling that can cause them to limit physical activities. This leads to reduced mobility and diminished quality of life, and actually increases their risk of falling. And as the population ages, falls put an immense strain on the healthcare system, with the financial toll expected to reach $67.7 billion by 2020.
The good news is that falls are preventable. With a focus on healthy aging, the Y is committed to helping older adults learn their fall risk and access programs that can help them reduce their risk for falls.
"As a leading community-based organization dedicated to improving the nation's health, the Y is asking older adults, caregivers, family members, and healthcare professionals to raise awareness and prevent falls in the older adult population," said Diane Saccone, director of healthy aging initiatives at the YMCA of WNC. "Falls are preventable, but many older adults and their families don't know how to safely get active. The good news is that organizations like the Y can help."
The first step to prevention is understanding risk. Older adults can assess their fall risk by taking a simple test at www.ymca.net/health-wb-fitness. Through this assessment, individuals can learn how routine activities and other factors help determine their risk for falls.
After assessing risk, the next step is to take action. The YMCA of WNC is helping to improve the health and well-being of older adults across the region through programs like Moving for Better Balance, Enhance Fitness, and Pedaling for Parkinson's.
The CDC suggests these basic lifestyle and safety changes to help reduce risk or prevent falls:
- Begin an exercise program to improve your leg strength and balance.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines.
- Get annual eye check-ups and update your eyeglasses.
- Make your home safer by:
- Removing clutter & tripping hazards
- Putting railings on all stairs & adding grab bars in the bathroom
- Installing proper lighting, especially on stairs.
To learn more about the YMCA of WNC’s Healthy Aging programs, please contact Diane Saccone.