Did you know that one in four older Americans falls every year? Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people over the age of 65. These startling statistics are why the National Council on Aging (NCOA) has deemed September 18-24 as Falls Prevention Week the Channel Islands YMCA is asking older adults, caregivers, family members and health care professionals in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties to join us in raising awareness to prevent falls among older adults.
“Falling and fear of falling may prevent older adults from staying active, which leads to reduced mobility, diminished quality of life and actually increases their risk of falling,” said Margo Byrne, CEO, Channel Islands YMCA. “The good news is that falls are highly preventable and help is available for older adults and their families who want to get active. We’re encouraging all older adults to learn their risk for falls by taking an assessment through NCOA here. [Choose English https://www.ncoa.org/article/falls-free-checkup or Spanish https://www.ncoa.org/article/falls-free-checkup-espanol quizes.]”
The Channel Islands YMCA is helping older adults feel strong, steady and safe by reducing falls risk through programs like Silversneakers®, Active Older Adults, and Chair Yoga.
NCOA has 6 steps older adults can take to reduce their risk of falling:
· Find a good balance and exercise program – Classes like Silversneakers® help build balance, strength and flexibility—all key in preventing falls. View our Group Exercise schedules.
· Talk to Your Health Care Provider – Share any history of falls and ask your doctor for an assessment on your risk.
· Regularly Review Medications with Your Doctor or Pharmacist – Make sure the medications you may be taking don’t have side effects that increase your risk of falling.
· Have Vision and Hearing Checked Annually and Update Your Glasses – Some falls occur simply because a person cannot see well. Your eyes and ears are key to keeping you on your feet!
· Keep Your Home Safe – Remove tripping hazards, increase lighting, make stairs safe and install grab bars in key areas.
· Talk to Your Family Members – Enlist support in taking simple steps to stay safe. Falls are not just a seniors’ issue!