Steps you can take to prevent falling

This week — Sept. 22 to Sept. 28 — marks National Falls Prevention Week. It corresponds with the start of the fall season.

At Community Caregivers, our mission is to help people stay independent as they age. Staying active and leaving the house to take part in community activities is integral to living a full life. And there are safe ways to do so if you are at risk for a fall.

We know that a fall can prove to be a game-changer for otherwise active older adults. However, older adults can take proactive steps to prevent falls.

This week, we offer some ideas for staying active and walking safely. Our resource is the well-regarded Fall Prevention Center of Excellence.

If you are walking outdoors in your neighborhood to stay active or traveling, you can reduce your risk of falls by taking some sensible steps:

— Be aware of where and when you walk: In the evenings, walk where there is plenty of light to help you see where you are going. Carry a flashlight to light the way and, this time of year, look for fallen leaves that might be slippery.

Watch out for inevitable cracks in sidewalks, holes, and uneven sidewalk levels. Of course, be extra careful during and after rainy or snowy weather. Wet surfaces will be slippery.

You might not think of your eyesight, but make sure to wear the correct eyewear while walking. Bifocals or reading glasses make it harder to see hazards on the ground. Wearing sunglasses on bright days will reduce glare;

— Stay active and safe: When walking for exercise, consider going to well-maintained places such as the track at a local high school or, in inclement weather, the shopping mall. Find or create your own walking team; walk in pairs or groups so you can alert each other of potential hazards as well as enjoy each other’s company. Wear shoes with firm soles and low heels when exercising; and

— Travel safely: Always take your time; hurrying across streets or rushing to catch a bus or train puts you at risk of falling. When climbing outdoor steps or riding public transportation, use the available handrails and move slowly.

If traveling by car, you should use extra caution walking across parking lots and in parking garages. Be aware of curbs, car stops, and changes in elevation. When crossing the street, walk in crosswalks and use curb cuts or ramps when they are present. Stop at islands in the middle of the street when available and wait for the next walk sign.

For more good ideas to prevent falls, you can check online at

Community Caregivers Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that provides non-medical services including transportation and caregiver support at no charge to residents of 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.

Our funding is derived in part from the Albany County Department for Aging, the New York State Office for the Aging, and the United States Administration on Aging. To find out more about our services, as well as volunteer opportunities, please visit or call us at 518-456-2898.

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