Facts About Falls

Falls are the leading cause of injury, hospitalization, loss of independence and death among older adults in the United States. National fall statistics can be viewed here. Consequently, injury-related falls take their toll, not only on individuals but, on the entire healthcare system. Especially relevant and encouraging is the fact that many falls can be avoided by implementing prevention strategies, the most important being exercise.

Practice the tandem walk for better balance.
Mary Ann demonstrates the tandem walk balance exercise

How to Prevent Falls

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) there are 4 things you can do to minimize your risk of falling.

  1. Begin an exercise program that focuses on improving leg strength and balance.
  2. Review medications with a doctor or pharmacist to check for interactions that may be negatively impacting balance.
  3. Have an annual eye exam and update glasses as needed.
  4. Conduct a home safety check to fall proof your home. For more information on how to make your home safe follow this link, http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Falls/CheckListForSafety.html

In addition, it’s important to note that of four CDC fall prevention strategies, exercise – specifically exercise that focuses on lower body strengthening and balance training – is the single most important intervention.

Balance and fall prevention exercises are incorporated into every Sit and Be Fit workout. The Sit and Be Fit website also contains a variety of blog articles and exercises that help improve balance. To access these resources click on Blogs and search the category index on the left side of the page.

Assess Your Fall Risk

It is valuable to assess your fall risk through an easy evaluation tool  you can find on page 2 of this link, http://www.srhd.org/documents/Providers/How_to_prevent_falls_06-15.pdf. This brief questionnaire is an especially good tool to use to initiate a conversation with your doctor during your annual wellness visit.

Spokane County Fall Prevention Resources

Sit and Be Fit is an active member of the Spokane Falls Free Coalition, a collaborative network of professionals and committed individuals who are passionate about reducing falls and providing education to seniors, and those who serve them, so they can successfully age in place. Under the leadership of the Spokane Regional Health District, the Falls Free Coalition is creating connections among businesses, organizations and services that help seniors in the community move through their continuum of care.

For more information about the Spokane Fall Free Coalition contact the Spokane Regional Health Health Promotion Specialist,  AJ Sanders, [email protected]

Additional Sit and Be Fit Fall Prevention Resources

Balance and Fall Prevention Workout – Developed with the San Mateo Fall Prevention Coalition,Stanford university Trauma Center, and Sequoia Hospital

Chair Exercise Basics Workout – Features segments dedicated exclusively to balance and gait training