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Falls Prevention Awareness Week is coming! September 20-24, 2021. 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 the National Council on Aging (NCOA) offers a quick 12-question self-assessment that includes guidance after completion.
AgeGuide offers 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.
Lifelong learning and social engagement like practicing hobbies and listening to music also help reduce falls risk by keeping our minds sharp and mood elevated. In addition to local programming, AgeGuide’s e-learning channel through GetSetUp provides a myriad of opportunities to help you keep learning and stay connected. There is literally something for everyone, with over 170 live, virtual classes and events that are free to people age 60+ within our region through February, 2022. Register for GetSetup today!
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 under Funded Services. Find the county you live in and scroll to the bottom under Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Education and Services. 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.
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