The Massachusetts Falls Prevention Coalition’s Falls Prevention Awareness Day was a great opportunity for everyone to learn how to reduce risks for falls and fall injuries and more importantly, to prevent falls from happening. Secretary of Executive Office of Elder Affairs, Alice Bonner, addressed the crowd at the 9th Annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day Event, “Take a Stand to Prevent Falls” held on Tuesday, September 22, 2015 in the Hall of Flags at the State House. In addition to Secretary Bonner, the informative speaking program included:
Julie Kautz Mills
Tri-Chair of Ma Falls Prevention Coalition,
Monica Bharel, M.D.
Commissioner, MA Department of Public Health
Senator Patricia Jehlen
Chair, Join Committee on Elder Affairs
Representative Thomas A. Golden, Jr.
Chair, Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy
The energetic crowd of seniors and advocates were highly engaged and enjoying the animated program that included a Tai Chi demonstration, safety tips sheets, and a myriad of health education displays.
In her engaging presentation to the crowd of 300+, Secretary Bonner explained statistics show that about one third of people over 65 will fall each year – rates are higher for people over 80 and for those who live in a nursing home. But there is also good news in that many falls are preventable! She explained to all that there is action they can take to pro-actively reduce the chance of suffering a serious fall and that there are four major actions to consider:
- Review your medications with your health care provider or pharmacist.
- Have your vision checked.
- Change your behaviors when moving around and find ways to get more exercise for strength and balance:
- Get up slowly after sitting or lying down.
- When you walk, take your time and resist the need to rush.
- Wear good fitting shoes with nonskid soles, avoid loose-fitting slippers.
- If you have a cane or walker, use it every time.
- Look for programs such as Matter of Balance or Tai chi that are delivered by someone with training in fall prevention.
- Find a regular walking group or walk with a friend or family member.
- If you are unsteady on your feet, keep a medical alert device or cell phone with you all the time so you can ask for help if you do fall.
- Modify your home for safety.
- Install handrails along staircases and hallways and bathroom grab bars.
- Improve lighting indoors and out. Replace broken fixtures and add night lights in bathrooms and between bedrooms and bathrooms.
- Use nonslip mats and treads in bathtubs and showers, but also in living areas. Replace rugs that slip with those that do not, put non-slip mats or padding under area rugs.
- Remove clutter and rearrange furniture.
- Move frequently-used household items to easily accessible shelves.
You may be able to find more resource through your local Elder Care Agency.