The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is celebrating Older Americans Month with resources to help older adults prevent life-threatening falls. Older Americans Month is sponsored each May by the US Administration for Community Living (ACL), and the theme this year “Safe Today. Healthy Tomorrow.” An NCOA news release indicates that the focus is on injury prevention, including fire, motor vehicle, and consumer product safety; improper use of medicine; and more.
NCOA and its national, state, local partners in the Falls Free Initiative are putting a special emphasis on how individuals and communities can work together to prevent falls among seniors. According to data from the ACL, “unintentional injuries to this population result in at least 6 million medically treated injuries and more than 30,000 deaths every year.”
Falls are not a normal part of aging, and they can be prevented through a combination of interventions. These include exercising, getting a falls risk assessment, reviewing medications, having vision and hearing checked, and making the home environment safe, as indicated on the NCOA news release. Evidence-based community programs like Matter of Balance, Stepping On, and Tai Chi also have been shown to reduce falls and medical costs.
James Firman, NCOA president, says, “There is no better way to honor seniors during Older Americans Month than to help them stay safe from harm. We encourage everyone to share our tools and information with older adults in their communities.”