The STEADY U Ohio web page includes a seasonal spotlight focusing on a timely topic and tips to help prevent falls. Previous spotlights can be accessed here.
Learn more about the STEADY U Ohio falls prevention initiative.
September is Falls Prevention Awareness Month.
September 2018: Talking With Loved Ones About Falls Prevention
Let's talk about falls prevention
September is Falls Prevention Awareness Month
September is Falls Prevention Awareness Month, which makes it the perfect time to talk with your older loved ones about falls and the many things they can do to reduce their risk and prevent them.
A single fall can change a loved one’s life significantly and make her less independent and more reliant on others. You want to help, but find she doesn’t want to talk about the subject. Falls also affect family members and others, so you need to find a balance between ensuring your loved one’s safety and respecting her right to make her own decisions.
Bring the topic up frequently and be persistent, but respectful. If she says she doesn't want to talk about it, that's OK. Let it go for the time being, but bring the topic up again, soon.
Start the conversation by assuring her that falling is not a normal part of aging. While many age-related factors increase risk, most falls can be prevented. Share stories of others you know who have fallen and ask open-ended questions like: "What could he have done to prevent that fall?"
Talk to your loved one about remaining healthy and active. That includes eating nutritious meals and drinking plenty of non-alcoholic fluids, along with physical activity to maintain strength, flexibility and balance. Find activities you enjoy together and volunteer to exercise with your loved one.
Look around your loved one’s home for common falls risks and talk about how to remove them. Look for rugs and poorly lit areas first. Rearrange kitchens, bathrooms and closets to minimize bending and stretching. Encourage the use of canes or walkers and make sure they are adjusted properly. Discuss more substantial changes, like adding grab bars to the bathroom, second railings to stairs and extra lighting.
More tips for talking with loved ones about falls prevention...
July-August 2018: Fairs, Festivals and Falls
Ohio’s festivals and destinations can be fun tools to help you prevent falls
From bratwurst, to sweet corn, to folk music, to antique farm machinery, Ohio has a festival to celebrate each of these and more. Along with the state’s world-class zoos and amusement parks, local fairs and festivals are fun getaways and great places to get some exercise, which is important to help prevent falls in your day-to-day life.
But outdoor events and attractions do present some unique falls risks:
You can also ensure you stay on your feet and have a great time with a little advanced planning.
Plan to join us at the Ohio State Fair on Senior Day, July 31, 2018, for the “Well Beyond 60!” EXPO. Take advantage of more than a dozen free health screenings and services, including computerized balance testing.
Heat-related illness and older adults
Find your next destination with Ohio Tourism
June 2018: Exercise to Reduce Your Risk of Falling
Exercise could be your best bet to reduce your risk of falling
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) updated its recommendations on the best ways to prevent falls in older adults. The strongest finding indicates that exercise programs focused on strength and resistance training, as well as balance and gait, help reduce the risk of falls. Checking someone’s medications, vision and home environment also is effective, but the real key to staying on your feet is continued exercise.
Any type of exercise helps, from lifting your legs while you watch TV and marching in place, to walking, to exercise programs like yoga and tai chi. Here are a few examples to try.
The USPSTF also found that taking vitamin D does not prevent falls. While it may not prevent a fall, it is still vital for strong bones and muscles. Eating fish, fortified milk, yogurt and egg yolks will add vitamin D to your diet. Sunlight actually helps your body produce vitamin D. Just 13-16 minutes a day in sunlight will produce benefits. Talk to your doctor about how you can increase your vitamin D level.
A Matter of Balance, available through your area agency on aging, is a program that helps reduce the fear of falling and increase activity levels among older adults. Participants learn about the importance of exercise in preventing falls; practice exercises to improve strength, coordination and balance; see how to conduct a home safety evaluation; and gain strategies to get up and down safely. Participants engage in 25 minutes of exercise at the start of each class.
May 2018: Know Your Risks
The best way to prevent a fall? Know your risk of falling
Falling is not a normal part of aging, and most falls can be prevented. But you can’t prevent a fall unless you recognize that there is a risk. Do any of the following statements applies to you or a loved one?
Give yourself one point for each statement you answered with “yes.” (Add two points for items marked with “*.” If you scored four points or more, you may be at increased risk for falls. Talk to your health care provider and ask for a comprehensive falls risk assessment. Be prepared to talk about your history of falls, your medications and your physical activity level.
You can also take an interactive version of this assessment, with results you can print and take to your doctor.
Once you know what is putting you at risk for a fall, your next step is to do whatever you need to do help prevent a fall. Visit www.steadyu.ohio.gov for tips and resources.
April 2018: Keep the Spring In Your Step
Keep the Spring in Your Step and Avoid Weather Related Falls
After a long, hard winter, Spring is finally here. We can get out and enjoy the outdoors and get some much-needed exercise. However, severe spring weather and other conditions can increase your risk of falling:
Falls are not a normal part of aging, but as we age, we may be more susceptible to serious injury from a fall. One in three Ohioans age 65 and older will fall this year, and that rate goes up to one in two after age 79.
Fortunately, most falls can be prevented when you understand your risks and take steps to remove or avoid hazards.
March 2018: A Prescription to Prevent Falls
STEADY U Ohio thanks Ruth Emptage, PharmD, BCGP, The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy, Ohio Pharmacists Association for contributing this article.
Medications are one of the best ways to treat chronic conditions and other health issues. Unfortunately, they can sometimes cause side effects, such as putting a person at risk for falls. There are five key ways to minimize your risk of falls from medications.
Medications that affect the brain, blood pressure and blood sugar are the most likely to contribute to increased risk for falls. Medications for sleep or anxiety, referred to as "psychoactive" medicines, can contribute to an increased risk of falls. Non-prescription medications which have PM in the name contain a medication called diphenhydramine (brand name Benadryl) are also known to increase fall risk. Reduce your falls risk by talking to your pharmacist!
February 2018: Don't Fall For Me, Valentine!
This Valentine’s Day, tell your loved one: “Don’t fall for me!”
Love is in the air, but hidden falls risks may be underfoot for someone you love. You could celebrate this time of love and devotion with just flowers or a box of chocolates. Or you could help the people you care about most prevent falls and fall-related injuries. Valentine’s day provides a great opportunity to talk about falls prevention in a fun way, while showing how deeply you care.
The STEADY U Ohio initiative suggests discussing these falls risk factors with older loved ones:
Visit www.steadyu.ohio.gov for more tips and resources to prevent falls.
January 2018: Winter Falls Prevention
Take steps to prevent a fall this winter!
One of the biggest risks from wintry weather is falling, particularly among older adults. Icy conditions make it harder to stay on your feet, and the cold may cause us to limit our activity, which can lead to loss of strength and balance. Be Winter STEADY with these tips to stay on your feet this winter: