Fall is known for many things, including football, Halloween, and who could leave out—Pumpkin spice everything. This fall, I’m asking for your help to spread awareness of a different type of fall, and your effort could help to save lives.
Every year around 30,000 Americans will die from an unintentional fall, around the same number killed in fatal automobile accidents. To raise awareness, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) is leading the Fall Free Initiative, a national effort to raise awareness for fall-related injuries and deaths among older Americans.
The scope of fall-related injuries is astonishing – every 13 seconds an older adult is treated in an emergency room, and every 20 minutes an older adult dies from a fall. These accidents are almost always preventable, and thus public education is crucial to reduce the number of falls.
Older Americans should follow the "6 Steps to Prevent a Fall", published by the NCOA. These include participating in a regular exercise program, removing tripping hazards in your home, having regular eye exams, and regularly reviewing medications with your physician. If you or a relative falls and is injured, make sure to report the incident to your doctor in order to receive proper treatment and professional advice.
Falls themselves are dangerous, but the hazard is multiplied when the victim has osteoporosis, which increases the risks of a fractured or broken bone. Luckily, osteoporosis can be prevented from a young age. Although old age may seem a lifetime away, young people should take measures now to maintain their health in the future.
Older Texans who are disabled or may be in need of services can find programs through their local Area Agency on Aging, such as the Alamo Area Agency on Aging. The legislature has also made our seniors a priority by funding programs through the Department of Aging and Disability Services, which provides a hotline to access services, and can be reached at 855-937-2372.
I hope you will take a minute and review the NCOA resources, and pass them along to anyone you think may be at risk of a fall. This is an area that if we work together to increase awareness, we really can save lives!