First day of fall set aside to promote falls prevention

The National Council on Aging has a quick online tool to assess one’s risk for serious falls

TULSA — One of America’s greatest health risks, especially for seniors, falls affect an estimated 800,000 patients and their families annually in the U.S.

For 70 years, the National Council on Aging has advocated, educated, and supported the nation’s senior citizens.

Annually, NCOA holds an event on the first day of fall, to increase awareness of both the risks, and the prevention, of serious falls.

The council estimates that one in four Americans 65 or older has a fall annually.

The more serious injuries, like a broken hip, can result in dire consequences - as much as a fifty percent risk of mortality within a year.

But Jennifer Tripken, Associate Director of NCOA, tells KRMG that falling is not just a part of aging; that falls are largely preventable, and one can take action to prevent them.

It begins by assessing one’s risk, and the council has put up a simple 12-question survey designed to do just that.

You can find the “Falls Free CheckUp” on the NCOA.org website.

The top tips for prevention:

1. Find ways to exercise, with a focus on balance, strength and flexibility

2. Ask your doctor to assess your risk for falls

3. Have your medications checked for possible side effects that could affect balance, or have other possible side effects which could lead to falls

4. Get regular eye and ear examinations, and keep any vision or hearing correction up to date

5. Work on making the home safer, with good lighting, fewer tripping hazards, and consider adding handrails or other aids

6. Have a discussion with family and friends to enlist their help

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