This weekend's cool weather reminds us that fall is just around the corner.
Along with pumpkin spiced lattes, crisp air, and changing leaves, September also brings us Falls Prevention Month. The National Council on Aging (NCOA), declares September 22, 2018 - the first day of fall - National Falls Prevention Awareness Day.
The percentage of falls among older adults in the US is on the rise. And in Illinois, nearly one in three older adults report having fallen in the last 12 months. For low-income seniors in Illinois, two out of five have fallen in the past year. That's higher than the national rate.
Falling is dangerous and can be expensive. According to NCOA:
- Falls in adults aged 65+ are the leading cause of head injuries and broken hips.
- Even falls without injury can cause fear of falling, leading to physical decline, depression, and social isolation.
- In 2013, the total cost of fall injuries was $34 billion.
Luckily, falls can be prevented. Here are five things you can do to prevent falls:
1. Find a good exercise and balance class.
2. Ask your healthcare provider for a falls risk assessment.
3. Get annual vision and hearing exams.
4. Talk about medications that may cause balance issues or dizziness.
5. Do a walk-through safety assessment of their home. There are many simple and inexpensive ways to make a home safer. Here are some examples:
- Increase lighting throughout the house, and ensure that lighting is readily available when getting up in the middle of the night.
- Make sure there are two secure rails on all stairs.
- Install grab bars in the tub/shower and near the toilet.
How you can help seniors prevent falls with H.O.M.E.
Over half of falls take place in the home, so making homes safer is a big first step in preventing falls. At H.O.M.E. our three Home Repair Specialists provide affordable repairs for low-income senior homeowners so that they can enjoy healthy and safe living conditions in their own homes.
Last year, our Upkeep and Repair Program completed 716 repairs in the homes of 100 seniors. These repairs included grab bar and handrail installation, electrical work, and carpentry work. All of these services reduce the risk of falling for seniors living in their own homes.
As we head into the fall season and become mindful of fall prevention, won't you support our programs that help seniors stay safe and healthy?
Or better yet, become a Partner in Independence to help low-income seniors all year long.
Being a monthly donor at any level makes a big impact. In fact for the cost of one pumpkin spice latte per month, you can pay for six grab bars! That means that six seniors will reduce their risk of falling in their home because of you.
Become a monthly donor by choosing the "monthly" frequency when you make your gift today.