Preventing Falls in the Senior Population

Reducing Falls in the Senior population.

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a workshop at the Sisters Fire Hall about creating more awareness about falls in the Senior population and how they can be prevented. Most of us know of someone or have at least heard of someone falling and declining quickly afterwards.

The take home messages are:

1. Falls are now considered a major health-risk epidemic so we will be seeing more and more about Fall prevention since YES they can be prevented.

2. Many of the medications that Seniors are taking are known to contribute to falls, including common ones like those for high blood pressure and mood. All seniors should request a review of medications with their medical doctors office. (The class was taught by an MD from OHSU and she told us that we really must press MDs to not overprescribe. Seniors should be coming off of meds vs. having more added on since the fall risks are more of a health threat.

3. Tai Chi has been shown to reduce the risk of falls by 60-70%. Look for Tai Chi classes around  town…I’m planning to add some to my yoga class.

4. Bifocals and poor shoes can additionally contribute to falls. Consider a new eye appointment  and ask if there is an alternative to bifocals. Also consider wearing tennis shoes inside and outside. Wearing supportive shoes and minimizing area rugs and other trip hazards can really help reduce the risk of falls.

5. Not a senior? Spread the word. Encourage parents, aunts, uncles etc. about learning more to reduce their fall risk.