Support Healthy Aging through Falls Prevention
Falling is not a normal part of aging. Falls threaten the safety and independence of older Vermonters and can create a heavy economic and personal burden. Check to see if you're at risk of falling with the National Council on Aging's Falls Free Checkup Tool.
Take the next step and find an exercise class near you!
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls among older adults are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal unintentional injuries in the United States. Falling is also the leading cause of emergency department visits for older adults. Learn more facts about falls on the Health Vermont Website.
Each year, many Vermonters experience a fall, yet only half will tell their health care provider. A fall can cause an injury and may result in hospitalization. A serious injury, especially when you are older can limit a person’s mobility and independence and increase social isolation – which can lead to additional health problems. But falling is not a normal part of aging, and can be prevented by doing the right exercises, making your home safer, getting regular health checkups, and more.
Together with Falls Free Vermont, a statewide resource for falls prevention information and training, state health officials encourage Vermonters to ask themselves these questions:?Have you fallen in the past year? Do you feel unsteady when standing or walking? Do you worry about falling??These screening questions can help you to determine your risk of falling. Talk to your doctor if you answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, and consider the often simple steps you can take to reduce your risk.
“One in three older Vermonters suffer from a fall-related injury each year, making unintentional falls the largest portion of the burden of injury in Vermont,” said Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD. “The good news is that falls are preventable and healthy aging is a quality-of-life goal we can achieve.”
Take these steps to help prevent accidental falls:
1) Talk to your health care provider about any past falls, even if they did not lead to an injury.
2) Review your medications and any side effects. Consider Vitamin D supplements.
3) Have your vision and hearing checked annually and update eyeglasses and hearing aids as needed.
4) Get moving! Try Tai Chi and other activities proven to improve balance and strength.
5) Assess your home environment. You can reduce your fall risk by removing trip hazards, improving lighting, installing handrails and grab bars, and taking extra care around pets that may be underfoot.
6) Talk to your family members.
“Vermont’s population is among the oldest in the U.S., and all of us have a role in promoting healthy aging and preventing falls,” said Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living Commissioner Monica White. “If you’re not at risk for falls yourself, chances are good that you know someone who is. Being aware of how to prevent falls benefits everyone – all Vermonters should make it a priority to take some of the simple actions to prevent accidental falls – for themselves and their loved ones.”
For more information about Falls Prevention and Healthy Aging:
• A new Falls Free Vermont website will release soon. In the meantime, check out the group’s Facebook page at facebook.com/FallsFreeVT for updates and information.
Call the Vermont Area Agencies on Aging Help Line: 800-642-5119?
• The Vermont Department of Health:?https://www.healthvermont.gov/emergency-preparedness-ems/injury-prevention/prevent-falls
• Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living’s Adult Services Division?http://asd.vermont.gov/
• National Council on Aging? https://www.ncoa.org/older-adults/health/prevention/falls-prevention