Elderly Vermonters can take steps to reduce the risk of falling
VERMONT - Each year many Vermonters experience a fall, yet only half will tell their health care provider. A fall can cause an injury and may result in hospitalization. A serious injury, especially for the elderly, can limit a person’s mobility and independence and increase social isolation, which can lead to additional health problems. Falling is not a normal part of aging, and can be prevented by doing the right exercises, making homes safer, getting regular health checkups, and more.
State health officials, together with Falls Free Vermont, encourage Vermonters to ask themselves these questions: Has there been a fall in the past year? Is there unsteadiness when standing or walking? Is there worry about falling? These screening questions can help determine the risk. Talk to a doctor if the answer is ‘yes’ to any of these questions and consider the often simple steps that can be taken to reduce your risk of falling.
Take these steps to help prevent accidental falls: Talk to a health care provider about any past falls, even if they did not lead to an injury. Review medications and any side effects. Consider Vitamin D supplements. Have vision and hearing checked annually and update eyeglasses and hearing aids as needed. Get moving. Try tai chi and other activities proven to improve balance and strength. Assess the home environment. Reduce the risk of falling by removing trip hazards, improving lighting, installing handrails and grab bars, and taking extra care around pets that may be underfoot.
A new Falls Free Vermont website will be released soon. In the meantime check out the group’s Facebook page at facebook.com/FallsFreeVT for updates and information.
Other resources include the Vermont Area Agencies on Aging help line at (800) 642-5119, as well as the websites of the Vermont Department of Health, Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living’s Adult Services division, and the National Council on Aging.