Home & Family
Fall prevention awareness day and week are held each year in September. Organizations across the country take this opportunity to promote fall prevention strategies and educate the public about the seriousness of falls, especially among the elderly. The National Council on Aging reports that falls are the leading cause of injury or death among older adults. In Alabama, 30.7 % of adults over the age of 65 have fallen in the past year.
Falls Among Seniors
Falls are a major health concern for older adults not just in Alabama but across the nation. According to a research letter published in the JAMA Network Open, falls among seniors continue to increase each year by 1.5 %, costing Medicare anywhere from $15 to $30 billion a year. The natural process of aging without any preventive measures, such as regular physical activity, can lead to a weakened physical state and, ultimately, falls.
Other factors that cause falls include the following:
- Chronic diseases that affect muscle coordination, balance, and strength
- Impaired vision that limits a person’s ability to see fall hazards
- Medication side effects causing dizziness, drowsiness, or low blood pressure
- Environmental or behavioral conditions, such as poor lighting, slippery rugs, or a demanding physical lifestyle
How to Prevent Falls
- Exercise regularly to keep your body strong
- Wear comfortable shoes
- Have your eyes checked regularly
- Check your home for possible fall hazards
- Use assistive walking devices
The Alabama Cooperative Extension System and other organizations offer these additional resources on fall prevention.
- Take Action: Reduce Your Risk of Falling (Alabama Extension)
- Worksheet: Decreasing the Risk of Falling (Alabama Extension)
- Fall Prevention for Caregivers (National Council on Aging)
- Fall Prevention for Older Adults (National Council on Aging)
- Older Adult Fall Prevention (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
In addition, Alabama Extension offers fall prevention education for older adults. Check the event calendar for a session near you. You can also visit the Alabama Extension at Alabama A&M University Facebook page for helpful fall prevention tips.