Fall Prevention for Seniors
The Fall City Fire Department is offering free home assessments to Senior Citizens who live in the community. If you or someone you know could benefit from a home assessment call the Fire Department at 425-222-5841 to request one.
Falls are a major threat to the health and independence of older adults, people aged 65 and older. Each year in the United States, nearly one-third of older adults experience a fall. Approximately one out of ten falls among older adults result in a serious injury, such as a hip fracture or head injury, that requires hospitalization. In addition to the physical and emotional pain, many people need to spend at least a year recovering in a long-term care facility. Some never return to their homes.
Keeping in good physical condition with moderate daily exercise will reduce your risk of falls. A combination of flexibility, weight bearing exercises and aerobic exercise can markedly improve your level of fitness-at any age.
Regular exercise can:
• Improve your muscle tone, strength and endurance.
• Keep joints, tendons and ligaments more flexible for unrestricted movement.
• Increase your sense of balance, agility and confidence.
• Strengthen your bones to fight osteoporosis and resist injury.
• Increase your stamina and energy.
You should always talk to your health care provider before starting an exercise program.
Each year, thousands of older people fall at home. Falls are often due to hazards that are easy to fix. The Fall City Fire Department offers free home assessments to area senior citizens which will include recommendations for reducing home safety hazards and increasing safety through the installation of risk reduction devices such as night lights, smoke detectors, shower chairs, handheld shower head, non-slip shower mats, wall grab bars and toilet safety frames. If you or someone you know could benefit from a home assessment call the Fire Department at 425-222-5841 to request one.
• Use a night light to illuminate the path from your bed to the bathroom.
• Replace dim, burned out or glaring lights with bright soft white light bulbs.
• Place a lamp close to your bed where it's easy to reach.
• Long hallways should have light switches at each end.
• Keep walkways free of cords, clutter and other obstacles.
• Remove throw rugs; secure double sided tap under area rugs.
• Arrange furniture so that you have plenty of room to walk.
Steps & Stairways
• All steps and stairs should have secure handrails on both sides.
• Fix loose and uneven outdoor steps.
• Carpet on indoor stairs should be firmly attached to every step.
• Attach non-slip rubber treads to wooden stairs.
• Stairs should be well lit with light switches at the top and bottom landings.
Living Room & Bedroom
• Furniture should be easy for you to get in and out.
• Keep a phone on a low table within reach of the floor.
• Keep a flashlight or battery operated light near your bed.
• Install night lights through out your home.
• Only use non-skid rugs on the bathroom floor.
• Install wall grab bars by the toilet and inside the shower/tub area.
• Use a shower chair and handheld shower head.
• Place non-skid adhesive strips in the tub or non-skid mats.
• Install ADA height toilet (17"-19" from floor to seat).
• Your shoes should be lightweight and supportive.
• Low-heeled and non-skid.
• Firmly fastened; velcro, cotton laces, or try nylon lock laces.
Four out of five older adults take at least one prescription medication per day and most take at least 2 prescriptions a day. Drug interactions and the physical changes that come with age can lead to an increased risk of falling. While all drugs should be administered carefully, certain medicines are more likely to involve risk of falling then others, such as those affecting the central nervous and cardiovascular systems. The more medications are taken, the greater risk of risk of drug interactions and side effects. Symptoms can range from dizziness to drowsiness, vision impairment and loss of balance.
• Keep an updated list of your medications, include supplements, herbs and over the counter products.
• Bring your medication list when you visit the doctor or hospital.
• Have all your medications filled at one pharmacy.
• Ask your pharmacist or your doctor about drug interactions.
• Take your medications regularly, don't skip or decrease the dose to cut cost.
• Avoid over-the-counter sleeping aids, allergy medications and antihistamines in cough and cold products.
• If you see a specialist, make sure your specialist sends reports to your primary care doctor.
• Always ask your doctor before you start an herbal supplement or over-the counter remedy.
• Ask your pharmacist if your pills look different in any way (color, size, shape) than the previous prescription.
• Never use someone else's medications and discard old unused medications.
• Limit your use of alcohol.
• If you do experience dizziness, drowsiness, vision problems or loss of balance seek help.
• Report adverse drug reactions to your doctor.
Eye disease or normal aging can make it difficult for seniors to read fine print, judge distance or identify objects clearly. These factors can lead them to develop a poor sense of balance or misread medicinal instructions. Have your vision checked annually and prescriptions updated as needed.
The three most common eye conditions in older adults are cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration. All of these conditions can develop slowly and gradually without symptoms until vision is impaired. A cataract is the thickening of the eye lens due to aging which causes gradual sight loss. Glaucoma is an increase in pressure inside the eye that causes gradual sight loss. Macular degeneration is the gradual loss of central vision.
Reduced depth perception due to bifocals, reading glasses, low lighting, and some eye conditions can cause falls. Reduced depth perception makes it difficult to accurately judge walkway changes like curbs, steps, and uneven ground, and can affect driving skills. In addition, a loss of depth perception makes it difficult to see objects in areas of shadow, low lighting, nighttime darkness, or excessive brightness.
FITNESS PROGRAMS AVAILABLE AT LOCAL SENIOR CENTERS
SNO VALLEY Senior Center
4610 Stephens Ave, Carnation WA 98014
Enhance Fitness Class
Zumba Exercise Class
Gentle Chair Yoga
MOUNT SI Senior Center
411 Main Ave S, North Bend WA 98045 425-888-3434
Seniorcise Fitness Class
Huff & Puff Exercise Class
S.A.I.L Fitness Class
ISSAQUAH VALLEY Senior Center
75 NE Creek Way, Issaquah, WA 98027
S.A.I.L. Fitness Class
East King County
& Independent for Life