by Jeff Paterson
Jimmy Rowe can help you stand on your own two feet. Literally.
A program director at the Health Association of Niagara County Inc., Rowe speaks to older adults across our community about how to prevent accidental falls.
The first thing you need to know, according to Rowe, is that falls are the leading cause of injury deaths among older adults. Falls are the top cause of hospital admissions for trauma, such as hip fractures and head injuries.
Rowe points out that one study showed falls as a major factor in 40 percent of nursing home admissions. And once an older person falls, the fear of another fall may keep the person inside the house, reducing his or her quality of life.
In other words, falls are bad news. The good news, says Rowe, is that falling can be prevented. Rowe talks about six ways that older adults can reduce their risk:
•Talk to your physician about medications and other factors that can lead to falls.
•Find a way to be physically active every day, such as walking, using stairs instead of elevators, and playing actively with grandchildren. Physical activity improves posture and balance, which can make falls less likely.
•Wear nonskid shoes that fit properly.
•Get rid of household items - including loose rugs and cords - that can cause you to trip.
•Make sure you have enough light in your house, especially in the bedroom, bathroom and hallways where you tend to walk during the night.
•If you need a cane, walker or other device to help you walk, don't let pride stop you from using it.
This list just scratches the surface. If you want to arrange a group presentation or get more information for your own use, contact Rowe at 285-8224, ext. 131. You'll love talking to him, but I guarantee you won't fall for him!
Jeff Paterson is HANCI's communication director. Information is available at 285-8224 or www.hanci.com.