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This Valentine's Day, ask the special ones in your life NOT to fall for you!
Show your older loved ones how much you care by helping them prevent falls
COLUMBUS - Caregiving is the ultimate expression of love and devotion, so on this Valentine's day, the STEADY U Ohio initiative encourages all Ohioans to learn what they can do to help an older loved one avoid a life-altering fall. About one in three Ohioans will fall this year - don't let someone you love become part of this statistic.
Don't let someone you care about become afraid of falling. People who fall (or nearly fall) may develop a fear of falling and modify their behavior in ways that actually increase their risk of falling again.
Talk about falls prevention... often. Many older adults may be reluctant to talk about falling because they see it as a threat to their independence. Bring the topic up frequently and be persistent, but respectful.
Help your loved one remain physically active. Any type of movement helps, from simply lifting your legs while you watch TV and marching in place in the kitchen, to walking and exercise programs.
Don't ignore chronic pain. Pain can cause your loved one to resist activity and exercise. Likewise, some pain medications can affect balance and stability.
Include your loved one in decisions about changes to her home. There are many simple and inexpensive changes that can significantly reduce the risk of slipping, tripping and falling.
Encourage appropriate use of assistive devices. Walkers and canes can help with balance. Folding step stools with hand rails are a far safer alternative to reaching high places than chairs or other furniture. Other devices, such as tools for reaching and grabbing, can keep a loved one from over-extending and losing balance.
Promote good nutrition and hydration. A balanced diet promotes overall general health and staying properly hydrated prevents low blood pressure, dizziness, fatigue and confusion.
Visit www.steadyu.ohio.gov and follow SteadyUOhio on Facebook and Twitter for more falls prevention tips and resources. Your area agency on aging also can help you connect to services and resources like minor home modifications and "A Matter of Balance" workshops. Call 1-866-243-5678 for the agency serving you.
About ODA - The Ohio Department of Aging works to ensure that Ohio is on the leading edge of innovation in responding to the growing and changing aging population. We work with state agencies, area agencies on aging and other local partners to help integrate aging needs into local plans and ensure that aging Ohioans have access to a wide array of high-quality services and supports that are person-centered in policy and practice. Our programs include the PASSPORT Medicaid waiver, the long-term care ombudsman program, the Golden Buckeye Card and more. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov.