Don't Fall This Fall...Or Any Other Time, If You Can Help It
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a variety of falls prevention materials for older adults, including a falls prevention checklist for your home.
Here are some sobering statistics from the Washington State Department of Health:
- In King County, from 2005 to 2009, almost 20,000 adults age 55+ were hospitalized for a fall-related injury, about 3,978 adults each year.
- The same years, 719 adults age 55+ died from a fall-related injury.
- Many of these falls were preventable.
Falls are a significant hazard to our health, which is why we promote public awareness about how to prevent and reduce falls among older adults. National Falls Prevention Awareness Day is observed on the first day of fall (this year, that's September 22). In Washington state, Governor Christine Gregoire has recognized September 16–20, 2012 as Falls Prevention Awareness Week. The Seattle-King County Advisory Council for Aging & Disability Services is dedicating the September 2012 issue of AgeWise King County to falls prevention.
For an overview of falls prevention awareness and the good work that Aging and Disability Services (ADS) is doing with Russian-speaking clients, read ADS planner Karen Winston's article, "Falls—Predictable and Preventable." Karen outlines the Centers for Disease Control's four key strategies for falls prevention:
- Exercise for balance and strength.
- Ask your doctor to review your medicines.
- Get your eyes checked.
- Make your home safer.
The articles that follow reinforce those themes:
- My ADS Advisory Council colleague, Tom Minty, who also serves on the ADS-sponsored Northwest Universal Design Council, provides excellent advice on making your home safer in "Make Sure Your Home Can Change as You Do."
- Dr. Tatiana Kaminsky—an occupational therapist—provides strategies to address limited eyesight in "Changing Vision and Your Risk of Falling."
- UW Professor of Pharmacy Don Downing addresses problems that can occur from taking unnecessary medications or the wrong dosage in "Reviewing Your Meds Can Reduce Your Risk of Falling."
- Senior Services' Andrea Meewes Sanchez discusses two outstanding evidence-based programs for building strength and balance—A Matter of Balance and EnhanceFitness—in her article, "King County Rallies to Prevent Falls." In addition, we've listed several upcoming workshop and class dates in the September calendar.
Also in this issue:
- Mark your calendars for the Silver Tsunami on October 1! The ADS Advisory Council is coordinating a state legislative candidate forum, co-sponsored by AARP, Bellevue Network on Aging, City of Seattle, Eastside Human Services Forum, ElderCare Alliance, King County, Kirkland Senior Council, United Way, Washington Association of Area Agencies on Aging and Washington State Senior Citizens' Lobby. Read all about it in "Advisory Council to Host October 1 Forum on Washington's Aging Readiness."
- ADS case manager Paul Snow offers information about PEARLS—Program to Encourage Active Rewarding Lives—for veterans in "Free In-Home Counseling for Older King County Veterans and Spouses."
- Chances are you or someone you know qualifies for but has not taken advantage of the State's property tax exemption or deferral program. Phillip Sit, Communication Coordinator for the King County Assessor's Office, reminds us about this valuable financial savings in "Two Property Tax Benefit Programs for Seniors and Adults with Disabilities."
- "Healthy Aging Month" wordfind.
- Keep your calendar handy because the AgeWise King County Fall calendar is jam-packed with programs and special events.
I hope you have a great fall...but please don't fall. Get moving, stay connected, and make a difference!
—Diane Snell, Chair
Seattle-King County Advisory Council for Aging and Disability Services