September is Fall Prevention Awareness Month. Every year, one-third of all people over the age of 65 will experience a fall. Often, these falls can result in broken bones and/or a decline in the overall health of the individual. These types of accidents are especially prevalent in Alaska, due to the extreme weather conditions that we experience during our winters and the amount of construction work that is done in the summer months. Luckily, there are proven guidelines we can follow to minimize and prevent falls when outside of our homes. There are also many community resources and events that build awareness of fall prevention.
We encourage all seniors, their loved ones and caregivers to seek out the benefits of these community resources. Here are a few to get you started!
The Anchorage Senior Center
Fall Prevention Workshop
September 23, 2014
During this workshop, five organizations will present guidelines and techniques for avoiding falls. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. Lunch is included.
Older, Wiser, Fitter, Faster
Begins September 8th, 2014
It is proven that regular exercise can greatly reduce the risk of falls. We have partnered with Alaska Fit to create a one-of-a-kind fitness and education program that is designed to improve the lives of anyone over the age of 60. Older, Wiser, Fitter, Faster is a unique program guaranteed to make you fitter, stronger and smarter in just 6 weeks (September 9- October 18th)! Please contact Alaska Fit for more information, at 907-783-1241.
Also, follow these tips to help prevent falls when you are out in the community:
- Wear low-heeled shoes with rubber soles for more solid footing and in winter, choose warm boots with good traction.
- Slow down and allow extra time in your schedule to avoid the increased chance of falling when rushing from place to place.
- Use hand rails as you go up and down steps and on escalators.
- If sidewalks look slippery, walk in the grass to gain more solid footing.
- In winter, carry a small bag of rock salt or kosher salt in your pocket or car. Sprinkle the salt on slippery sidewalks or streets that you encounter.
- Look carefully at floor surfaces in public buildings. Highly polished marble or tile floors can be very slippery and become dangerous when wet. Stay on plastic or carpet runners whenever they are available.
- Keep your porch, deck, walkways and driveway free of leaves, snow, trash or clutter. Also, keep them in good condition.
- Cover porch steps with a gritty, weather proof paint and install handrails on both sides.
- Turn on the light outside your front door before leaving your home in the early evening so that you can see clearly if you return after dark.
- Use a shoulder bag, fanny pack or a backpack to carry your belongings and keep your hands free.
- Use a walker or cane, as needed.
- Check the height of curbs before stepping up or down. Be especially careful at curbs that have been cut away to allow access for bikes or wheelchairs.
Nobody wants to experience a fall that could injure them and potentially have lasting effects. Being observant of surroundings and aware of our own bodies is important, as well as remaining fit and active. Additionally, taking advantage of community resources can be helpful to anyone who is worried about having a fall or how to prevent falls for their loved ones. Education is power. We hope that we’ve helped to empower you today.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” ~Nelson Mandela