September is Falls Prevention Awareness Month in Wisconsin. Unfortunately, Wisconsin has the highest death rate due to falls for older adults of any state in the country. Every 11 seconds an older adult in the U.S. is admitted to an Emergency Department for a fall. One in four older adults has a fall each year costing over $1 billion annually in Wisconsin.
The good news is that falls are not a normal part of aging. They can be prevented. The Wisconsin Institute for Healthy Aging, the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Eagle Country’s Richland Center office and Symons Recreation encourage older adults to prevent falls with these six steps:
1.Talk to a physical therapist to learn about balance and strength exercises that are proven to reduce falls.
2.Ask your health care provider for a falls risk assessment and share your history of recent falls.
3.Review the medications you are taking with your pharmacist and doctors regularly to explore whether side effects are increasing your risk of falling.
4.Get your vision and hearing checked annually and update your eyeglasses; people with untreated vision or hearing losses are more likely to fall.
5.Keep your home safe by removing tripping hazards, increasing lighting, making stairs safe and installing secure grab bars in key areas.
6.Talk to your family members and enlist their support in taking simple steps to stay safe.
Take steps to avoid a painful and costly fall. For more information in Richland County regarding fall prevention and classes that can prevent falls call The ADRC at 608-647-4616 or Symons Recreation at 608-647-8522 for help.
All other counties contact your local ADRC by calling: 877-794-2372 to find out what options are available.