Prevent a fall

Persons of all ages fall, but the consequences can be much more serious for an older person since a fall is more likely to result in an injury. We all know someone who has fallen, so the following story probably sounds familiar to you.

Meet Ms. Martin

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 moved along at her own pace and 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 the first fall for her and luckily she was not hurt too badly. She received only a few bruises from the fall, but the experience frightened her. Being frightened made her more sensitized to falling. Two months later, Ms. Martin had another fall after tripping on a rug in her home. This time, the fall caused serious injury—Ms. Martin broke her arm and hit her head. Unfortunately, now Ms. Martin has a history of falling and has developed a more serious fear. Ms. Martin decided that she does not want to continue to live in fear and would like to learn a way to prevent future falls and not be so afraid.

What help is available for Ms. Martin or someone like her?

There are workshops as well as home assessments that can help Ms. Martin or someone like her minimize the risk of a fall. 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.

How can I sign up for A Matter of Balance?

Thinking A Matter of Balance might be the answer for you as well? You can check out the Georgia Health Matters: Life enriching programs.  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.

How 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.

Contact empowerline at (404) 463-3333 to review available options to meet your needs.

For more information

You can download this infographic to think through what the next steps are to help prevent falling. 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 .

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