In observance of Fall Prevention Awareness Week, South County Fire invited senior community members and their families Thursday to the Lynnwood Fire Station for a free Senior Stroll and Pancake Breakfast with firefighters.
Community Resource Specialist Larry Hadland said fall-related incidents are the number-one source of injuries that South County Fire responds to. Hadland, a retired medical services officer, said every day an average of 4.3 people in South County over the age of 60 fall hard enough to injure themselves
The event was the first of what Hadland said will become a quarterly outreach opportunity to promote safety for seniors in their homes.
“The best fall is the fall that never happens,” he said. “And we know we can prevent it.”
Information was provided for from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which offered steps to prevent falls and decrease risks for older adults:
1. Talk openly with your health care provider about fall risks and prevention. Tell a provider right away if you fall, worry about falling or feel unsteady. Have your doctor or pharmacist review all the medicines you take, even over-the-counter medicines. As you get older, the way medicines work in your body can change. Some medicines or combinations of medicines can make you sleepy or dizzy and can cause you to fall.
2. Exercise to improve your balance and strength. Exercises that improve balance and strengthen your legs can lower your chances of falling. Lack of exercise leads to weakness and increases your chances of falling. Ask your doctor or healthcare provider about the best type of exercise program for you.
3. Have your eyes and feet checked. Once a year, check with your eye doctor and update your eyeglasses if needed. Poor vision can increase your chances of falling. Also, have your health care provider check your feet once a year. Discuss proper footwear and ask whether seeing a foot specialist is advised.
4. Make your home safer:
- Remove things you can trip over (like papers, books, clothes and shoes) from stairs and places where you walk.
- Remove small throw rugs or use double-sided tape to keep the rugs from slipping.
- Keep items you use often in cabinets you can reach easily without using a step stool.
- Have grab bars put in next to and inside the tub and next to the toilet.
- Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors.
- Improve the lighting in your home. As you get older, you need brighter lights to see well. Hang lightweight curtains or shades to reduce glare.
- Have handrails and lights installed on all staircases.
- Wear well-fitting shoes with good support inside and outside the house.