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Mid-Hudson Valley Fall Prevention Week is Sept. 21 through Sept. 25

Golden Living

By the end of the month, it’ll be fall — the season begins on Tuesday, Sept. 22, and the first day of fall coincides every year with Fall Prevention Week, Sept. 21 through the 25th. It’s hosted by the Office for the Aging (OFA) along with New York State Senator Sue Serino (R-41), the Lower Hudson Valley Fall Prevention Network and the Vassar Brothers Medical Center Trauma Department. Go to www.facebook.com/lhvfallprevention for a calendar of events.

Fall Prevention Week is an opportunity to debunk the myths surrounding the factors that lead to falls among older adults:

Myth 1: Falls will happen to other people — not me.

About one in three older adults will fall this year. That’s about 20,000 Dutchess County seniors.

Myth 2: Falling is inevitable as you get older. 

Falling is not a normal part of aging. Strength and balance exercises, managing medications and checking your home for fall hazards are all steps that you can take.

Myth 3: I won’t fall if I limit my activity. Just the opposite is true. 

A lack of physical activity will cause muscles to weaken through lack of use — and that increases your risk of falling. Physical activities help you stay independent, and will improve your strength and range of motion. Social activities are also good for overall health.

Myth 4: I’ll just stay home and that’ll keep me safe from falls. 

Over half of all falls happen at home, so check your home for common fall risks like loose throw rugs, poor lighting and clutter. Adding grab bars and hand rails at strategic locations around the house will be helpful, along with non-slip paint or similar modifications to outdoor walking areas.

Myth 5: I’m only going to get weaker as I get older. 

We do lose muscle as we age, but physical activity can slow that process greatly.

Myth 6: Using a cane or a walker will make me more dependent.

Used properly, canes and walkers are a great help for mobility. Have a physical therapist fit the walking aid to you, and instruct you on its safe use.

Myth 7: My mom or dad is at risk of falling, but if I talk to them about it I’ll hurt their feelings. 

Communicating your concerns thoughtfully will go a long way. As we’ve said in this column  before, a big part of aging gracefully is accepting help gracefully. The goal is for your senior loved ones to be able to live independently and safely for as long as possible, and preventing falls is a key method of reaching that goal.

To find out more about Mid Hudson Valley Fall Prevention Week, contact Jill Bubel at jill.bubel@nuvancehealth.org or call 845-797-6768.

 

Golden Living is prepared by Dutchess County OFA Director Todd N. Tancredi. He can be reached at 845-486-2555, ofa@dutchessny.gov or online, at www.dutchessny.gov/aging.

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