Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Every Day Should Be Falls Prevention Awareness Day

Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans. Falls threaten senior safety, independence, and generates enormous economic and personal costs. One in three seniors over the age of 65 will fall each year.

Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing and the Los Angeles Falls Prevention coalition remind you that through practical lifestyle adjustments, evidence-based fall prevention programs, and community partnerships, the chances of falls among seniors can be reduced. Here are some lifestyle tips and steps you can do to reduce your chances of falling:


Villa Gardens residents practice Tai Chi 
1. Exercise – Exercising regularly helps strengthen your muscle and improves your balance and gait. Tai Chi, for examples, is an effective exercise and studies have shown Tai Chi helps reduce falls in seniors by up to 45%.

2. Review your medication – Know the names of your medication and its doses. Ask yourself if the medication you are currently taking makes you dizzy or sleepy and if so, please consult with your doctor.

3. Get an eye exam - Have your eyes check at least once per year and update your lenses when needed.

4. Identify potential safety hazards around your home – “Red flags” around your house includes poorly lit stairways and walk ways, loose throw rugs, and electric wires in walking areas can serve as a trip hazard.

5. Make home modifications – When you do identify safety hazards in your home, make modifications such as adding grab rails or re-arranging furniture to make for wider walking spaces.

Are you at risk for falls? Take the 30-second Chair Rise to find out!

Older adults do not always report a fall or if they are losing their balance. Failure to do this increases the likelihood they may fall again. Thinking that it will not happen [again] is not the answer. If you are experiencing dizziness, difficulty with your balance or have had a fall prior - please report this to your physician. 

California has the largest number of seniors in the United States with more than 7.5 million individuals over 60 years of age. In Los Angeles County alone there are more than 1.1 million older adults over 60 years old.

Upcoming events:

Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing in collaboration with the Los Angeles Falls Prevention Coalition will host a Fall Prevention Series presenting on various topics via video conferencing. Health education video conferencing has been a longstanding program for the under-served seniors in Los Angeles and beyond through the Model e-Health Community for Aging (MeHCA) project. Through this the partnership, we have invited experts in their field to present the following topics pertaining to Fall Prevention:

- Medication Management presented by Bradley Williams, PharmD, CGP from University of Southern California, School of Pharmacy

- Safe Home Tips presented by Anat Louis, Psy.D. from Los Angeles Department of Aging

- Fall Risk Self-Assessment by Celeste Del Valle, MPH at Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and Los Angeles Fall Prevention Coalition

Interested in learning more information about Fall Prevention Series or about MeHCA? Please reach out Julie Santos, Project Specialist at JSANTOS@frontporch.net.

Interested in learning more about the Falls Prevention Coalition? Check out the Los Angeles Falls Prevention website. This resource will help seniors and their family identify and locate programs. For any questions, please reach out to Gretchen Swanson, DPT, MPH, Member of the Steering Committee, at info@lafallsprevention.org.

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