September 21, 2018 is National Fall Prevention Awareness Day. The North Country Hospital Rehabilitation Department will be offering a free educational session and balance screening at the North Country Hospital Wellness Center on 1734 Crawford Road, from 1-2 p.m.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one in every three older adults has a fall. One fall can lead to more falls. Falls can result in fractures, head injuries and for our elderly, the fear of falling again. This fear can cause you to limit your activity which then leads to moving less, getting weaker and having another fall! To stay balanced and prevent falls you need strength and endurance, good eyesight, sensation in your feet, and a healthy inner ear (also known as the vestibular system). Medications can cause dizziness or lightheadedness and lead to problems with balance. Lastly, cardiovascular fitness or the health and fitness of the heart and lungs play a role in balance.
What can you do to prevent falls?
- Exercise to help improve strength, balance and your cardiovascular fitness.
- Get your vision checked regularly to make sure your prescription is up to date.
- Have your doctor review your medications yearly, at minimum, to make sure there are no adverse interactions occurring.
- Make your home safer by removing clutter and loose area rugs (use double sided tape or non-skid rugs if necessary). Make sure lights are in working order. Install grab bars in your bathroom.
- Have your blood pressure checked regularly. See your doctor if you get dizzy when standing up.
If you want to learn more about how to prevent falls and if you are at risk for falling, come to our free educational session and screening from 1-2 pm on Thursday, September 22nd at the Wellness Center in Newport. PT will be conducting specialized testing and you’ll go home with a checklist outlining any deficits you may have and learn about what to do next. This checklist has been approved by the CDC and is designed for you to take it to your doctor. You can then discuss any findings and obtain referral(s) to specialists if needed.
Preregister for this free event by calling the Wellness Center at 334-5566
If you’ve already had a fall, feel unsteady when getting around, or have a fear of falling, consider talking to your doctor about a referral to therapy. A physical therapist can do specialized testing to determine your fall risk. He or she can then design an individualized balance and exercise program to help decrease your fall risk and prevent you from falling.
Remember, falls are preventable and balance impairments are treatable. For more information about balance or our free event, call North Country Hospital Rehabilitation at 802-334-3260.