Falls are common but most importantly - they are largely preventable. That was the key message from National Falls Prevention Awareness Day that was observed last Friday. And to promote greater awareness and understanding of older adult falls, the National Council on Aging identified common myths – and the realities.
Myth 1: Falling happens to other people, not to me. Reality: 1 in 3 older adults fall every year in the U.S.
Myth 2: Falling is something normal that happens as you get older. Reality: Falling is not normal and can be prevented by strength and balance exercises, managing your medications, having your vision checked and making your living environment safer.
Myth 3: If I limit my activity, I won't fall. Reality: Limiting your activity does not prevent falls, but remaining active, increasing your strength and range of motion does.
Myth 4: As long as I stay at home, I can avoid falling. Reality: Over half of all falls take place at home. Remove clutter, throw rugs, and poor lighting and add grab bars in the bathroom, a second handrail on stairs, and non-slip paint on outdoor steps.
Myth 5: Muscle strength and flexibility can't be regained. Reality: Exercise can partially restore strength and flexibility. It is never too late to start.
Myth 6: Taking medication doesn't increase my risk of falling. Reality: Medications affect people in many different ways. Talk to your health care provider about potential side effects or interactions.
Myth 7: I don't need to get my vision checked. Reality: People with vision problems are more than twice as likely to fall as those without visual impairment. Have your eyes checked at least once a year and update your glasses.
Myth 8: Using a walker or cane will make me more dependent. Reality: Walking aids are very important in helping many older adults maintain or improve their mobility and independence.
The bottom line is that there are four actions you can do to reduce your risk of falling: exercise; have your health care provider review your medicines; have your vision checked, and make your home safer.
September is the kickoff month for this year’s United Way Campaign. And with your Chronicle last week, you received a brochure explaining the value of your local United Way. I encourage you to give to this community effort that supports over thirty non-profit organizations in the Gorge. United Way does make a difference.
The Tuesday Lecture at 11:00 on the 4th will feature Jim Gordon, local Long Term Care Ombudsman. He will discuss the purpose and value of the Ombudsman program and also share the insights he’s gained from being an Ombudsman volunteer.
Did you figure out last week’s code? I used a “space code” which doesn’t change the order of the letters but changes where the spaces between the words occur. But this week it’s back to normal. Tonight the Jazz Generations will be playing for your listening and dancing pleasure. And next Tuesday on the 4th, we recycle the monthly line up, starting at the top of the dance card with the Strawberry Mountain Band. So everyone and everybody bring your dancing shoes. The music starts at 7:00 and donations are always appreciated.
So you have made it this far. How about a little brain challenge to see if your brain is still firing on all cylinders – or at least three out of four? An Arab sheikh tells his two sons to race their camels to a distant city to see who will inherit his fortune. The one whose camel is slower wins. After wandering aimlessly for days, the brothers ask a wise man for guidance. Upon receiving the advice, they jump on the camels and race to the city as fast as they can. What did the wise man say to them? (Answer in next week’s column.)
The ol’ pea picker was Tennessee Ernie Ford who in 1955 recorded the #1 hit “Sixteen Tons”. (And the winner of five quilt raffle tickets was Lola Sinclair.) This week’s “Remember When” question is from TV in the 60’s. Again for five raffle tickets, what was the name of the show whose premise centered on the mysterious murder of Helen Regan Kimble? Email your answers to the firstname.lastname@example.org, call 541-296-4788 or drop your answer off with a phonebook from Stafford, Indiana.
Well it’s been another week waiting to see what’s on the other side of the leaf. Until we meet again, as our children have taught us - only by stumbling do we learn to walk.
“Do not condemn the judgment of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong.” Dandemis