By Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) – Area Agency on Aging
Reduce your risk of falling
Persons of all ages fall, but the risk of significant injury from a fall increase as you get older. Consider this familiar scenario: Ms. Martin is a 78-year-old retiree who lives alone with her pet. Prior to her retirement ten years ago, she was a very independent person who maintained a moderately active lifestyle that consisted of managing her household, cooking, gardening, and attending regular church services. She would spend time with her family, especially her grandchildren, and stay in regular contact with neighbors and friends.
Everything was going well until she experienced a fall in her home. This was her first fall. Luckily, she received only a few bruises from it, but the experience still frightened her and made her more aware of the risk of falling again.
Two months later, Ms. Martin had another fall after tripping on a rug in her home. This time, the fall caused significant injury—Ms. Martin broke her arm and hit her head. Although she recovered, her fear of falling became much more serious. Ms. Martin decided that she would like to learn a way to prevent future falls so that she no longer had to live in fear.
What help is available for someone afraid of falling like Ms. Martin?
There are workshops and home assessments that can help someone like Ms. Martin minimize the risk of a fall.
What falls prevention workshops are available?
A Matter of Balance workshops are held in community settings such as churches, senior centers, and community centers and are led by two certified facilitators. A Matter of Balance workshop groups meet once a week over an eight-week period. Attendees range from individuals who have experienced falls, are concerned about falling, or simply have a fear of falling after witnessing someone else’s fall.
The workshop helps individuals reduce their fear of falling and increases activity among older adults. Participants have the opportunity to explore their thoughts and attitude towards falls, learn exercises that can strengthen muscles and help improve balance, and discover practical ways to make changes to your living environment that may also help to prevent a fall.
If you think A Matter of Balance might be the answer for you as well, check this website to see what is scheduled in your area, or contact Empowerline if are interested in attending a workshop, would like to host a workshop, or would like to request a workshop in your area.
Contact Empowerline at (404) 463-3333 to review available options to meet your needs.
For more information
This infographic may help you think through what the next steps are to help prevent falling, and you can complete this checklist to prevent falls at home. To help manage your fear of falling, visit the National Council on Aging’s site to review some practical suggestions and more information that may help you decide.
If you are a caregiver who is interested in more information relating to falls, check out the Falls Prevention Conversation Guide for Caregivers, also from the National Council on Aging. Use Empowerline’s search for services resources to find services and providers near you.
Can someone help me assess my home and lifestyle for potential hazards?
An assessment of an individual’s home and lifestyle performed by an Aging in Place professional may be helpful in identifying potential health and safety hazards, especially the potential for falls. These professionals include a licensed occupational therapist, licensed architect, or a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS). Empowerline can help you find a CAPS in your area.
An assessment involves a review of your physical surroundings, both interior and exterior, limitations, activities, and general lifestyle to determine if there are any environmental or other hazards in your home that could pose a potential threat to your independence and safety. Then, you receive a report with recommendations for modification, assistive technology, or other in-home service to assist you and your family with making informed decisions allowing you to remain independent to the greatest extent possible and in the community. These assessments are not covered by public funds but may be well worth the investment to safely maximize your independence.
This article was originally published by ARC’s Empowerline. To learn more, visit https://www.empowerline.org/
This information is brought to you by a RRF Foundation on Aging grant received by the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians and the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) – Agency on Aging.