Have you fallen recently? Were you hurt? Did you tell anyone—a doctor, a friend, a family member? Are you so afraid of falling that you no longer take part in activities you enjoy?
FEAR OF FALLING is your worst enemy! If you are afraid of falling, you don’t go out as much, resulting in social isolation, loneliness and depression; you move less, causing your muscles to weaken and lose flexibility; you tend to walk leaning forward, throwing off your balance. All of these increase your risk of falling–and threatens your independence.
Statistics show that 1 of every 4 seniors aged 65 or older has suffered a fall. Sometimes the result is a “bruised ego”; other times the results are MUCH more serious. At Lakeview, we are aware of at least 11 falls in the past few months (there may be more!): 4 with bumps and bruises (two of these went to the ER); 7 with broken bones; 1 head injury—and 2 deaths. These are NOT statistics! They are OUR people, dear ones that we know and love!
Are falls inevitable when you age? Absolutely NOT! Are they preventable? To a great extent, YES! Unfortunately, you can’t change your age or your existing medical conditions, but you can change some things. Many conditions that increase your risk of falling CAN BE CHANGED:
- Physical inactivity
- Medication Use
- Home environment
- Fear of Falling
- Postural Integrity
- Social isolation
- Weakness, especially legs and ankles
- Improper use of assistive device
- Poor choice of footwear
As a result, United Methodist Women and the members of Lakeview’s Caring Ministry are creating a Fall Prevention Program for Lakeview to provide education, information and awareness about fall prevention through classes, special speakers and physical activities; and information about all facets of fall prevention. We plan to partner with Stephen Ministers and PALS to assist with home safety checks and to help make needed changes.
We encourage you to get your doctors, caregivers and family involved in fall prevention education and activities over the next few months. Here are some things you can do NOW:
- Ask your doctor to do a FALLS RISK ASSESSMENT which will give you a better idea of what strength and balance issues you should work on. (covered by Medicare!)
- MOVE! We already have in place Dr. Lydia Woods’ exercise class, which is geared towards balance and stability issues. (If you want to join this class, please get your primary care provider’s approval—also a good time to do the assessment above!)
- Get your VISION checked
- Have your pharmacist review your MEDICATIONS (Do they cause dizziness, sleepiness or muscle weakness? Could they interact with other medications?)
We also have brochures and pamphlets in the UMW flier rack in Smoot Hall—please take them, read and share with your friends, family and medical personnel. Watch for future events! We want to keep our members active and moving—safely!