Sept. 17, 2018 – Washington Co., WI – Saturday, Sept. 22 is National Falls Prevention Awareness Day. The Kettle Moraine YMCA is joining the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and the Falls Free Coalition to help raise awareness and prevention of falls in Washington and Ozaukee County.
Each year, it’s estimated one out of four Americans aged 65 or older will suffer a fall, leaving many adults with a fear of falling that can cause them to limit physical activities. This leads to reduced mobility and diminished quality of life and can increase their risk of falling. In addition, as the population ages, falls put an immense strain on the health care system, with the financial toll expected to reach $67.7 billion by 2020.
The good news is falls are preventable. With a focus on healthy aging, the Y is committed to helping older adults learn their fall risk and provide resources that can help them reduce their risk of falling.
“Even older adults who are in good health can suffer a fall, and many families often underestimate the risks and steps needed to prevent them,” said Rob Johnson, CEO for the Kettle Moraine YMCA. “Fortunately, community-based organizations like the Y are a great resource for any older adult, family member or caregiver who wants to learn what they can do to not only decrease the risk of a fall but improve overall health and well-being.”
The first step to prevention is understanding risk. Older adults can assess their fall risk by taking a simple test at ymca.net/fallsrisk. Through this assessment, individuals can learn how routine activities and other factors help determine their risk for falls.
Once assessing risk, the next step is to take action; the Kettle Moraine YMCA is helping to improve the health and well-being of older adults across the country through programs like MOVING FOR BETTER BALANCE, ENHANCE® FITNESS or HEALTHY LIVING RELATED PROGRAMs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests these basic lifestyle and safety changes to help reduce risk and prevent falls:
- Begin an exercise program to improve your leg strength & balance.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines.
- Get annual eye check-ups & update your eyeglasses.
- Make your home safer by:
- Removing clutter & tripping hazards.
- Putting railings on all stairs & adding grab bars in the bathroom.
- Installing proper lighting, especially on stairs.
To learn more about the Kettle Moraine YMCA’s-MOVING FOR BETTER BALANCE/HEALTHY LIVING PROGRAMS, please contact Rachel Martinez, Director of Healthy Living, at [email protected] or 262-247-1026.