Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Some strategies for seniors as Kentucky observes Fall Prevention Awareness Day Saturday, Sept. 22

Kentucky has joined 45 other states in proclaiming Saturday, Sept. 22 as Fall Prevention Awareness Day. In 2011, fall-related injuries among the elderly in the Bluegrass were associated with $266 million in hospital charges, according to Julie Lasslo, Kentucky Safe Aging Coalition coordinator at the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center.

"Falls come at an immeasurable impact on the quality of life for many seniors," Lasslo writes in the Lexington Herald-Leader, noting that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that one-third of Americans are hospitalized due to falls. She says such falls are not an inherent part of the aging process and some simple strategies can prevent them:

# Engage in a physical activity regime that includes balance, strength training, and flexibility.
# Consult with a health professional about getting a falls risk assessment.
# Have medications periodically reviewed.
# Get an annual eye exam.
# Store frequently used items at waist level.
# Remove clutter from stairwells, hallways and walking paths.
# Install and use handrails in stairwells and bathrooms.
# Remove throw rugs.
# Place double-sided tape under area rugs and loose carpet.
# Keep your home well-lit and consider using a night light.

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