Each year on the first day of fall, the Harrisburg Area YMCA joins national organizations from the Falls Free Coalition and the National Council on Aging (NCOA) for National Falls Prevention Awareness Day. On Saturday, September 22, the Harrisburg Area YMCA is asking older adults, caregivers, family members, and healthcare experts in Harrisburg to join us in raising awareness in preventing falls among older adults.
Understand the Risk
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an older adult in the U.S. is treated in the ER for a fall-related injury every 14 seconds. An older adult dies from a fall-related injury every 29 minutes. Additionally, falls put a large strain on the health care system, with the fiscal toll expected to reach $67.7 billion by 2020. The good news is: falls are preventable, and the first step to preventing falls is understanding risk.
With a focus on healthy aging, the Y helps older adults learn their fall risk. They have access to programs that can help them reduce their risk of falls. Falling and fear of falling may prevent older adults from staying active. This can lead to reduced mobility, lowered quality of life, and increased risk of falling.
The Harrisburg Area YMCA is a leading community-based organization. We dedicate ourselves to improving the nation’s health for all families. We encourage older adults to learn their risk of falls by taking a quick assessment at http://www.ymca.net/health-wb/fitness/.
Once risk is checked, the Harrisburg Area YMCA is helping older adults feel strong, steady, and safe by reducing fall risk. We lower this risk with programs like Enhance®Fitness and Golden Lite. The CDC suggests these basic lifestyle and safety changes to help reduce risk or prevent falls:
- Begin an exercise program to improve your leg strength and balance.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines.
- Get annual eye check-ups and update your eyeglasses.
- Make your home safer by:
- Removing clutter and tripping hazards.
- Putting railings on all stairs and adding grab bars in the bathroom.
- Installing proper lighting, especially on stairs.
–Madeline Kelly, Digital Communications Coordinator