Fall Prevention – What Every Senior Should Know

November Speaker Series will Address Staying Safe at Home

By: MaryAnne Beatty

Alexandria is a great place to be a senior, and many of us plan to remain here in our homes as we get older. If that is your goal, it’s very important to consider what it will take to insure you are safe in a variety of ways. As we age, older adults can face memory loss, struggle with balance issues and find ourselves the target of theft and scams. When these situations occur, seniors may feel insecure about living independently in our own homes.

Statistics show that falls affect about one third of the senior population over the age of 65, and this may be a low estimate as many falls go unreported by seniors and caregivers. Other statistics indicate that seniors who suffer a fall will probably fall again within six months. When an older person falls, and is admitted to the hospital, their stay is almost twice as long as those of older patients who are admitted for other reasons. Another startling fact is that one-fourth of seniors who fracture a hip from a fall will die within six months of the injury. Falls can drastically affect the quality of life for seniors including physical decline, depression, social isolation and feelings of helplessness. The biggest effect is the loss of independent living.

Planning ahead can do a lot to prevent falls and their devastating impact. Simple home modifications, careful monitoring of medications, and regular exercise to improve strength and balance can make a huge difference. Seniors needs to be proactive to remain healthy and know how to remain safe. We should also be aware of ways to avoid the many scam artists who target older adults in their homes.

Senior Services of Alexandria and the Northern Virginia Fall Prevention Alliance have teamed up on a terrific event that will highlight ways to prevent falls and be more secure in your home. The November Senior Speaker Series, “Seniors and Caregivers: How to Stay Safe at Home,” will cover several topics, including physical changes that come as part of the normal course of aging, simple exercises to improve balance, why it’s so important to insure proper dispense of medications, cost effective home modifications, and preventing scams.

The event takes place on November 2 at Beth El Hebrew Congregation, 3830 Seminary Road from 9:30am-noon. The event is free, open to the public, with light refreshments and plenty of parking. Speakers include representatives from Marymount University and the Fall Prevention Alliance, Goodwin House at Home, and the Fairfax County Financial Exploitation Task Force. Participants will have a chance to ask questions and talk to presenters. To register go online at seniorservicesalex.org or call 703-836-4414, ext. 110.

[References: National Council on Aging – “Falls Prevention Facts. Web. 2015; Learn Not to Fall. “How Often Falls Occur.” Web. 2012; Mayo Clinic. “Fall Prevention: Simple Tips to Prevent Falls.” Web. 2014]

Maryanne Beatty is the Director of Community Outreach for Senior Services of Alexandria.