A couple of years ago I met a man teaching martial arts who told me that he also was involved in educating people about falling. It seems that his Mother had taken a bad fall and the resulting injury will hamper her everyday living from now on. He knew that a little bit of preventive training could have helped reduce her injury and perhaps even prevented her fall.
The story got me to thinking. I wondered how many injuries are occurring as a result of falls, especially in my age group.
The statistics seem alarming:
- Falls are the leading cause of injury related hospitalization and death to Ohioans 65 and older.
- An older Ohioan falls every two minutes on average, resulting in an injury every five minutes, six emergency department visits and one hospitalization each hour, and three deaths each day.
- Approximately 15 percent of Ohioans are 65 and older yet this group accounts for more than 84 percent of fatal falls.
Falls are not a normal part of aging, and most falls can be prevented. There are several things you can do to prevent yourself from being injured from a fall.
- Get 15 minutes of simple exercise per day including walking, swimming, biking or gardening each day.
- See your health provider for a fall risk assessment.
- Review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist.
- Eat regularly and choose a diet rich in vegetables and calcium-rich foods.
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
One of the best ways to prevent falls is education. A person’s risk of falling goes down the minute he or she becomes unafraid of falling. In Ohio there is a statewide initiative on the issue. It is called:
Steady U is dedicated to preventing injury and death from falling. A person can become involved at various levels. I have become involved, and urge everyone I know to become involved as well. Remember falls can be prevented.
For more information on the Steady U initiative in Ohio go to: aging.ohio.gov/steadyu/