Local TV will spread the word on preventing life-altering falls

September is Fall Prevention Awareness Month, a full month of activities and reminders about the importance of avoiding the leading cause of injury deaths among older adults – falls. Falls are a major threat to the health, safety, and independence of people 65 and older. September will also feature a special television program, produced locally, aimed at preventing seniors from falling.

Each year in the United States, nearly one-third of older adults experience a fall.  About one out of 10 falls among older adults result in serious injury, such as a hip fracture or head injury that requires hospitalization. In addition to the physical and emotional pain caused by falling, many people need at least a year to recover in a long-term care facility. Some may never return to their homes at all, depending on the severity of injuries.

Fortunately, there are a few important strategies to reduce your risk of falling.  With approval from your primary-care doctor, you can begin an exercise program to improve your strength and balance.

One such program, Stay Active and Independent for Life (SAIL), is frequently offered at senior centers. You can also ask your doctor to review your medications to improve your balance and stability. Annual vision exams and eyeglass updates may help you judge distances and identify hazards more easily. You can also make your home safer by removing throw rugs, installing wall grab bars, and having railings on both sides of stairway inside and outside of your home.

During September, the Pierce County Fall Prevention Coalition and Pierce County Human Services will sponsor a thirty-minute Fall Prevention Awareness television program to air on local channels including Pierce County TV.  The program will also be featured on the Pierce County TV You Tube channel. Professional experts will be interviewed during the program to provide a wide variety of information to educate seniors on how to avoid dangerous falls.

More information about the program will be available in the September edition of Senior Scene, including a list of local television channels where you can view the program, along with broadcast dates and times.  More information will also be available starting Sept. 1 on the Pierce County Aging and Disability Resources website at www.pierceadrc.org.


Matthew Santelli, who wrote this article, is a case manager for Pierce County Aging and Disability Resources.