by Guest Blogger – Jon Burkhow, Director of Senior Community Services’ HOME program
Did you know according to the National Council on Aging (NCOA) one-third of Americans aged 65+ falls each year? What can you do to help prevent a senior loved one from falling? With the annual Fall Prevention Awareness day, just around the corner on September 22, 2017, now is the time to take some simple steps to reduce the risk of falls for our Minnesota older adults.
- Find a good balance and exercise program. Many local community centers in Hennepin County offer classes specially designed for seniors. Also consider a Matter of Balance class in your community. Find more details including locations near you: http://mnhealthyaging.org/en/FallsPrevention/MatterBalance.aspx
- Talk with your health care provider. It is important to tell your doctor or family members if you have fallen recently. Certain medications can increase fall risk and your health care practitioner can review these and give you an overall assessment for fall risk based on your situation.
- Check your vision and hearing annually. Your eyes and ears are key to navigating your environment.
- Get a free safety assessment from the HOME program. Learn how we can help make safety improvements to your home, such as installing grab bars, improved lighting, new smoke alarms, reducing tripping hazards inside and outside the home, and more.
It’s human nature to procrastinate but we urge you to consider being proactive and reduce your fall risk. Perhaps, you know someone who has suffered from a fall. The recovery can be difficult and severe. Falls can cause serious physical and psychological injury and are common during the Minnesota winter months. In addition to the action items above consider a quick check of your physical environment. Here are a few things to look for:
- Assure that you have adequate lighting on all stairways and going in and out of your home.
- Make sure that you have sufficient hand railings or grab bars in these locations and use them! Try to avoid carrying heavy loads when using these transition areas as your balance and line of sight can be impaired.
- Remove all objects from stairways.
- Remove loose rugs or put a non-slip backing under them. Make sure all pathways are clear of clutter. You shouldn’t have to walk around things to navigate in your home.
- Make sure that you have a good pair of indoor shoes that have non-skid soles.
Do what you can to mitigate your fall risk. Make today the day to take action and stay safe! If you would like more information on the HOME program, visit our website: www.seniorcommunity.org. Contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (952) 746-4046.
Jon Burkhow is the Director for the HOME program. The Senior Community Services HOME (Household and Outside Maintenance for Elderly) program provides affordable home maintenance and chore services delivered by trusted professionals and community volunteers. The goal of the HOME program is to provide reasonably priced services to help adults aged 60 and older continue to live independently in their own homes.
Home Instead Minneapolis is proud to partner with and exclusively support Senior Community Services and specifically their HOME program, which applied and was carefully selected to be a recipient of a $5,000 matching grant during the 2017 GIVE65 crowd-fundraiser.