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Prevent Falls as You Age

YMCA of Greater Kansas City
September 20, 2018
Enhance Fitness - AOA - Active Older Adults

Each year, it’s estimated that one out of four Americans aged 65 or older will suffer a fall, leaving many adults with a fear of falling that can cause them to limit physical activities. This leads to reduced mobility and diminished quality of life and can increase their risk of falling. 

In addition, as the population ages, falls put an immense strain on the health care system. The financial toll expected to reach $67.7 billion by 2020.

Saturday, September 22 is National Falls Prevention Awareness Day, and the YMCA of Greater Kansas City is joining the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and the Falls Free Coalition to help raise awareness and prevent falls in our community. 

The good news: falls are preventable. And the Y is here to help. 

With a focus on healthy aging, the Y is committed to helping older adults learn their fall risk and provide resources that can help them reduce their risk for falls.

Even older adults who are in good health can suffer a fall. Many families underestimate the risks and steps needed to prevent them. 

The Y can provide resources for any older adult, family member or caregiver who wants to learn what they can do to not only decrease the risk of a fall but improve overall health and well-being.

The first step to prevention is understanding risk. Assess your fall risk by taking this simple test. Through this assessment, individuals can learn how routine activities and other factors help determine their risk for falls.
 
Once assessing risk, the next step is to take action. Talk to your local Y about opportunities to improve health and well-being and specific programs such that help increase balance and fitness.

Tips to Prevent Falls

The CDC suggests these basic lifestyle and safety changes to help reduce risk and prevent falls:

  • Begin an exercise program to improve your leg strength and balance.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines.
  • Get annual eye check-ups and update your eyeglasses. 
  • Make your home safer by:
    • Removing clutter and tripping hazards.
    • Putting railings on all stairs and adding grab bars in the bathroom.
    • Installing proper lighting, especially on stairs.

To learn more, visit a Y location near you.