Wednesday, September 07, 2022
Falls Prevention Awareness Week is almost here! Falls are not a normal part of aging and should not be accepted as such. For 14 years now, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) has spearheaded National Falls Prevention Awareness Day to correspond with the first day of fall. It has now turned into a week with falls coalitions nationwide offering screenings, education and activities all meant to call attention to this expensive, pervasive, and often avoidable health dilemma.
The first step to avoiding falls is to get screened for general risk. This can be done in your doctor’s office as part of an annual wellness check, or take the National Council on Aging’s Falls Free CheckUp to get a personalized overview of your falls risk and ways to remediate your risk so you can stay healthy and protected . Falls are not a normal part of aging and can be prevented!
AgeGuide and our funded partners offer in-person and virtual falls prevention programming regionally through townships, community centers and other local agencies. Falls prevention-specific programming such as A Matter of Balance, Bingocize, and Fit and Strong are offered year-round. These programs are valuable because inactivity is a huge contributor to falls, right up there with medication reactions and interactions.
When a fall occurs, it is often costly in terms of money, loss of independence and overall quality of life. The old saying, “move it or lose it” has never been more relevant. Through the pandemic, a lot of us, including older adults, were less active than usual while sheltering in place. This inactivity increases the risk of falling. Exercise programs can help get us moving and reduce the risk of falls. Local-based programs are available both virtually and in-person, and are open and free to those aged 60+.
More information about these programs can be found on AgeGuide’s website at www.ageguide.org/health-promotion-education-classes under Services & Supports. To find specific classes; visit www.ilpathwaystohealth.org or call AgeGuide at 800-528-2000.
A Matter of Balance seeks to build confidence by identifying and addressing root causes of falling and fears of falling, including internal and external environmental risks. While mostly an educational program, exercises are designed specifically to strengthen areas of the body that are most needed for good balance.
This popular group activity has fun built in! Bingocize® combines falls prevention education with exercise designed to improve strength and balance, with the fun of playing Bingo, complete with prizes!
Fit & Strong! is mostly a physical activity program. This program focuses on flexibility, low-impact aerobics, and strength training to improve lower body function. Classes also cover health education, group problem solving, and the development of a personalized action plans to maintain physical activity.
Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention improves movement, balance, strength, flexibility, immunity, and relaxation while decreasing pain and falls. Tai Chi is one of the most recommended activities by health-related organizations such as the Mayo Clinic, Harvard Health, Parkinson’s Foundation, and many more for the management of chronic pain, while maintaining flexibility.