We must do our part to prevent falls

“Falls are never ‘nothing’,” stated Kathy Greenlee, United States Assistant Secretary for Aging, at the National Council on Aging Summit on Falls Prevention in Washington, D.C. The summit took place on April 30, to inform policymakers for the 2015 White House Conference on Aging.

As many readers know, a fall for an older adult can be a game-changer.

There was a lot of discussion by experts at this summit.  And it’s indisputable that fall-prevention priorities and strategies include funding and reimbursement, engaging new stakeholders, and expanding evidence-based programs known to help reduce falls. Conversely, fall prevention barriers include lack of funding, missing clinical-community connections, and low public awareness. 

This is where small community-based agencies, like Community Caregivers, can help make a difference: by raising public awareness about falls and strengthening community connections. Community Caregivers has at the heart of its mission helping individuals “maintain their independence, dignity and quality of life within their homes and communities.” Preventing falls, especially among older adults, can make an independent life a reality.

Community Caregivers Inc. is committed to fall prevention education. Earlier this year, in Caregivers Corner, we provided winter safety tips to prevent falls.  Underlying causes of falls, however, know no season and can occur at any time.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention promote four things that individuals can do to prevent falls:

— Begin a regular exercise program;

— Have your health-care provider review your medicines;

— Have your vision checked; and

— Make your home safer.

The Community Caregivers’ website, www.communitycaregivers.org, has resources on fall-prevention education. You may also request a speaker for your community group by calling us at 456-2898.

Nora Super, executive director of the White House Conference on Aging, notes, “Prevention is better than treatment. That’s certainly true when it comes to falls and older adults.”

Clearly, the fall that never happens is the best outcome for any of us. 

Community Caregivers Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that provides non-medical services and caregiver support at no charge to residents in Guilderland, Bethlehem, Altamont, New Scotland, Berne, Knox, and the city of Albany through a strong volunteer pool of dedicated individuals with a desire to assist their neighbors.

Editor’s note: Linda Miller is the Outreach and Education coordinator for Community Caregivers.