Saturday, September 22nd is the first official day of the fall season, but it’s also the 10th annual National Falls Prevention Awareness Day, sponsored by the National Council on Aging. As the leading cause of injury and accidental death among older adults over the age of 65, falls have rapidly become a serious public health concern. Falls can lead to hip fractures, head trauma, and other injuries that may be fatal or drastically limit the independence of older adults.
The theme of this year’s National Falls Prevention Awareness Day is Take a Stand to Prevent Falls, a call-to-action encouraging health care professionals, caregivers, and older adults to recognize everyday fall hazards and promote awareness for fall prevention. On this day – and every day – retirement communities like Bethany Village are dedicated to promoting fall prevention awareness and protecting the health and safety of older adults.
Here are some of the ways moving to a retirement community can help older adults prevent dangerous falls:
Balance and Exercise Programs
Many retirement communities, including Bethany Village, have adopted fall prevention programs designed to help residents improve strength, maintain balance, and stay mobile. In many cases, a fear of falling can actually lead to an increased risk of falling among the older population. By staying active with daily movement and exercise, older adults can gain a sense of confidence and reduce their risk of experiencing a fall.
On-site Physical and Occupational Therapy
It’s natural for seniors to experience changes in their health as part of the aging process. For example, hearing loss, eyesight problems, reduced strength and endurance, and conditions such as arthritis are all common health issues adults face as they grow older. Physical therapy and occupational therapy are great ways to address these issues, providing older adults different exercises and techniques to their overall improve mobility and strength and reduce their risk of experiencing a fall. Retirement communities have physical and occupational therapists on staff to work one-on-one with residents in the comfort of their community, whether they need help recovering from an injury or want to learn strategies to prevent a future fall.
Reduced Environmental Risk Factors
Environmental risk factors are hazards that can be found in and around one’s home or in public places and lead to a trip, slip, or fall. Common fall hazards around the home include poor lighting, loose carpet, wet floors, uneven steps, and a lack of non-slip or supportive devices in areas such as bathrooms. Unlike most home environments, retirement communities are designed for seniors’ safety and comfort, with living spaces tailored to accommodate older adults who may need extra help with mobility. Standard safety features in retirement communities include no-step entrances, handrails in hallways and bathrooms, and wide doorways to fit wheelchairs or walkers.
In retirement communities, older adults have access to assistance 24 hours a day from dedicated caregivers. This means that in the event of a fall or other emergency, help is available right away. Private living spaces, common areas, and bathrooms in retirement communities are equipped with emergency alert systems, so older adults to call for assistance any time, any place.
Falls can be dangerous and even fatal for senior adults. But fortunately, falls are also preventable. If you’re worried about the safety of a loved one living at home, it may be time to consider moving to a retirement community focused on reducing falls among older adults.