Staying on Our Feet - Some Strategies to reduce the risk of falling


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National Council on Aging presentation by Bonita Lynn Beattie at October 10, 2009 Northern Virginia Fall Prevention Summit.

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Staying on Our Feet - Some Strategies to reduce the risk of falling

  1. 1. Staying on Our Feet<br />Some strategies to reduce the risk of falling <br /> October 10, 2009<br />
  2. 2. National Council on Aging<br />NCOA’s Mission<br />To improve the lives of older Americans.<br />Who We Are <br /> NCOA is a non-profit service and advocacy organization based in Washington, DC.<br />What We Do<br />NCOA is a national voice for older adults – especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged -- and the community organizations that serve them.<br />NCOA brings together non-profit organizations, businesses and government to develop creative solutions that improve the lives of all older adults. <br />NCOA works with thousands of organizations across the country to help seniors live independently, find jobs and benefits, improve their health, live independently and remain active in their communities<br />
  3. 3. Falling is not a normal consequence of aging.<br /> Most falls are preventable!<br />If you take steps to reduce your individual risk in those areas commonly known to affect your chances of falling <br />
  4. 4. First, talk to your doctor IF <br />You have experienced a fall in the last six months <br />You experience light headedness or dizziness <br />You are afraid of falling <br />
  5. 5.
  6. 6. What puts us at risk for falling?<br />The major contributors to your risk for falling include: <br /><ul><li>Medications
  7. 7. Physical Inactivity
  8. 8. Vision
  9. 9. Home safety </li></ul><br />
  10. 10. Why does Medication Put us at Risk? <br />Higher volume of medications <br />Mixing prescription medications, over the counter, herbals and alcohol –<br />Some medicines, or combinations of medicines, can make you sleepy or dizzy and can cause you to fall.<br />How medicines work in your body<br />Not following directions for use<br />
  11. 11. Reducing Medication Related Risks<br />Strategies<br />Periodic medication review and with every new prescription <br />Using one pharmacy<br />Adhering to prescribed uses and dosing directions <br />Not mixing prescription medications, over the counter, herbals and alcohol - carrying a list of ALL medications you consume <br />
  12. 12. Why does physical inactivity put us at risk for falling?<br />Physical Inactivity leads to declines in: <br /><ul><li> Balance
  13. 13. Strength
  14. 14. Flexibility </li></ul>You can make substantial improvements at ANY AGE<br />
  15. 15. Where to Find Physical Activity Programs <br />If you believe falling is not a significant concern - YET! Take steps to become more active: <br />Contact your Area Agency on Aging for information about local physical activity programs and services <br /><br />or call:   800.677.1116<br />Good sources of age appropriate programs: <br /> Area Agencies on Aging<br /> Senior Centers <br /> YMCA/YWCA <br /> Recreation Centers <br />
  16. 16. Keys to successful Physical Activity Programs<br />Provides challenging and fun exercises that over time will improve your balance, flexibility and strength <br />Meets your interests and needs, and is easily accessible<br />Bring a friend <br />
  17. 17. Are you at higher risk? <br />Feeling unsteady on your feet, concerned about other health conditions, afraid of falling?<br />Experiencing dizziness or lightheadedness? <br />Had a fall within the last six months? <br />
  18. 18. IF yes… <br /><ul><li>See your health care provider for assessment and targeted physical activity prescription
  19. 19. See a physical therapist who can guide you to community programs when your balance improves </li></li></ul><li>Vision <br />Losing vision is not a normal part of aging, therefore an annual dilated eye exam is recommended<br />It is normal to need more light as we age to discern tripping hazards and contrasting edges<br />
  20. 20. Vision<br />If you already have reduced vision enroll in a low vision program<br />
  21. 21. Vision Simple Steps to Take<br /><ul><li>Increase lighting in your home, especially hallways and staircases
  22. 22. Use nightlights and keep a flashlight by the bedside
  23. 23. Color contrast stair edges
  24. 24. Remove tripping hazards
  25. 25. When going from sunlight to darkened rooms, allow eyes to adjust or change glasses</li></li></ul><li>Home Safety <br />Up to 60% of falls occur in or around your home<br /><br />
  26. 26. Home Safety: Simple Steps to Take<br /><ul><li>Remove items from walkways that can be tripped over such as books, papers, shoes.
  27. 27. Be sure the stairwell areas are clear of clutter.
  28. 28. Improve lighting in the home. Be sure walkways and stairs are well lighted.
  29. 29. All staircases should have handrails, preferably two rails. </li></li></ul><li>More Simple Steps to Take<br /><ul><li>Keep items used often in areas easily reached without having to use a step stool.
  30. 30. Ask for help in changing ceiling light bulbs and smoke alarm batteries
  31. 31. Install grab bars next to the toilet and in the tub or shower.
  32. 32. Use non-slip mats in the bathtub or shower.</li></li></ul><li>What About Pets? <br />My little tripping hazard <br /><br />
  33. 33. What about canes and walkers? <br />IF properly fit and properly instructed in the safe use of assistive devices they can enhance safety <br />Do not borrow devices without proper fitting and instruction – See your local physical therapist for assistance <br /><br />
  34. 34. Falling is not a normal consequence of aging.<br />Most falls are preventable! <br />If we take steps to reduce your individual risk in those areas commonly known to affect our chances of falling <br />If we partner with our families and health care provider to help you reduce our risk of falling<br />