Seniors Outreach News November 20, 2013

November is Falls Prevention Month.  Anyone can fall, but as you grow older, the risk increases. Falls are the leading cause of serious injuries in older adults. The facts don't lie: every year, 1 in 3 Alberta seniors will fall.  The good news is that you can take steps to prevent this from happening to you. Here are some helpful hints to prevent falling:
Watch you step—wherever you are keep pathways, halls and stairways well lit and free of clutter. With winter upon us, watch out for ice, cracks, and uneven surfaces while walking.  Wear shoes that support your feet and have a closed heel. Avoid rushing and doing too many things at once. Have your eyes checked every year. Ask your healthcare provider about which type of grab bar to use in your bathroom as many falls occur there.
Speak up about dizziness—tell your doctor if you often feel dizzy or lightheaded. There are many different causes of dizziness, including some medications. Get your blood pressure checked regularly as you may feel dizzy if your blood pressure drops quickly when you get up. After lying in bed or sitting in a chair, clench your fists and circle your ankles 10 times, then take you time and get up slowly.  Dehydration can also make you dizzy do drink plenty of fluids including water each day.
Keep active—regular physical activity and exercise can increase muscle strength, improve balance, and help prevent you from falling. Seniors Outreach provides Link to Health classes in different locations so take advantage of this or other exercise options available to you. Try to do at least 30 minutes of activity every day. Walk, dance, bowl, swim, golf or curling are all available within the County so join activities that you enjoy and stay active.
Check your medication—once a year, have your doctor or pharmacist review all medications. As you age, the way some medications affect you can change and increase your risk of falling.  Medications include prescriptions, over-the-counter pills, vitamins, and herbal supplements.  Medications that relax you, help you sleep or improve your mood can increase your risk of falling.  Alcohol affects medication so be careful of combining the two. It can be deadly.
Keep your independence—falls prevention isn't just about stopping falls before they happen.  It's about continuing to enjoy life's simple pleasures; it's about playing with your grandchildren or great-grandchildren and keeping up with old friends. Most of all, falls prevention is about keeping your independence. If you have a fall, be sure to tell your doctor.
Seniors Outreach will be having falls prevention sessions in each community and in various locations.  For more information about a location near you, please call our office at 403-443-2555. Stay safe, stay warm, and stay active.