Beaverton Council on Aging: Take a Stand to Prevent Falls

logo286By Cathy Doyle

Falls remain the leading cause of injury and death for older Americans.

The NCOA (National Council on Aging) has written an article “Debunking the Myths of Older Adult Falls”. In summary, they report that most falls are preventable and that you have the power to reduce your risk.

Myth #1:

“Falling happens to others, not me.” Reality, 1 in 3 older adults fall every year.

Myth #2:

“Falling is something normal that happens as you age.” Reality, if you do strengthening and balance exercises, manage medications, get vision checked and change your environment, you can prevent falls.

Myth #3:

“If I limit my activity, I won’t fall.” Reality: Staying physically active maintains independence.

Myth #4:

“If I stay home, I can avoid falling.” Reality: over 50% of falls occur in the home!

Myth #5:

“Muscle strength and flexibility cannot be regained.” Reality: It’s never too late to start an exercise program. You can partially restore strength and flexibility.

Myth #6:

“Taking medications does not increase my risk of falling.” Reality: Taking any medication can increase your fall risk. Be careful when starting new medications and always talk to your doctor about the side effects and interactions.

Myth #7:

“I don’t need my vision checked every year.” Reality: Poor vision is a key factor in falling and those with vision problems are twice as likely to fall.

Myth #8:

“Using a walker or cane will make me dependent.” Reality: Properly fitted walking aids/devices by a Physical Therapist can help improve or maintain mobility.

Myth #9:

“I don’t need to talk to family or my doctor if I’m concerned about falling. I don’t want to alarm them and I want to keep my independence.” Reality: Fall prevention is a team effort to optimize your safety.

If you are interested in serving as a volunteer member of the Beaverton Council on Aging, please email Jim Brooks, City of Beaverton. jbrooks@beavertonoregon.gov.