River Falls Rotary President Elect, J.W. Matheson addressed the group on the importance of Fall Prevention.   Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people aged 65+.  Falls can result in hip fractures, broken bones, and head injuries. And even falls without a major injury can cause an older adult to become fearful or depressed, making it difficult for them to stay active.  Yet, the good news is that many falls can be prevented with some planning and exercise.
 
Here are some common factors that can lead to a fall:
  • Balance and gait: As we age, most of us lose some coordination, flexibility, and balance— primarily through inactivity, making it easier to fall.
  • Vision: In the aging eye, less light reaches the retina—making contrasting edges, tripping hazards, and obstacles harder to see.
  • Medications: Some prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can cause dizziness, dehydration or interactions with each other that can lead to a fall.
  • Environment: Most seniors have lived in their homes for a long time and have never thought about simple modifications that might keep it safer as they age.
  • Chronic conditions: More than 80% of older adults have at least one chronic condition like diabetes, stroke, or arthritis. Often, these increase the risk of falling because they result in lost function, inactivity, depression, pain, or multiple medications.
Resources to learn more about Preventing falls:
  1. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) STEADI Fall Prevention Materials @ https://www.cdc.gov/steadi/index.html  
  2. Videos describing the Tests and Otago Exercises we Performed in Rotary (Sit to Stand Test, Timed Up and Go, 4 stage balance test): https://betterhealthwhileaging.net/otago-exercises-fall-prevention-videos
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