(FORT WORTH, Texas – September 6, 2017) — It is a startling fact that one out of three seniors experiences a fall each year, making falls the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans. Falls threaten seniors’ safety and independence and annually result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments, including over 800,000 hospitalizations and more than 27,000 deaths.
“Falls, with or without injury, also carry a heavy quality of life impact,” says Care N’ Care’s Chief Executive Officer Wendy Karsten. “Here in North Texas, as with the rest of the country, many older adults fear falling and, as a result, limit their activities and social engagements. This can result in further physical decline, depression, isolation and feelings of helplessness. But it need not be that way.”
Fortunately, says Karsten, there are things seniors can do to lower their risk for falls and, by doing so, also lessen the fear of falling. The key she says is to become better aware of what contributes to falls, and make every effort to eliminate those risks through five basic actions:
- Have a “fall risk assessment” with your doctor. This includes reviewing your medications; talking about prior falls or close calls; observing you getting up from a chair, walking, turning, balancing, and using a cane or walker if you have one and discussing possible hazards in your home. Also ask your doctor about bone density screenings as those with osteoporosis are at a greater risk of suffering a hip fracture as a result of a fall.
- Eliminate fall risks in your home. Remove clutter, cords and throw rugs that could trip you. Improve lighting, including night lights. Make sure essential and everyday items are in easy reach. Have appropriate assistive devices installed in the bathroom, such as grab bars, nonskid mats, a shower chair and a seat riser for the toilet.
- Exercise for stronger legs and better balance. Certain types of activities help improve balance, including stretching, tai chi, walking and yoga. There are many community-based programs, including those offered by Care N’ Community, that provide free classes specifically designed to meet the needs and abilities of seniors.
- Select good footwear. Rubber-soled, low-heeled shoes that fully support your feet and let you feel the ground are best. Avoid walking around in smooth-soled shoes or socks or slippers with a lot of padding.
- Have your vision checked annually. Good vision is essential to good balance, and even small changes in your eyesight can make you less stable.
“Falling is not an inevitable result of aging,” says Karsten. “Through practical lifestyle adjustments and fall prevention programs, the number of falls among seniors can be substantially reduced. That is why we encourage our members and all seniors throughout North Texas to become better aware of what contributes to falls and make every effort to eliminate those risks. By doing so seniors can gain more confidence and help ensure they remain healthy and independent.”
Care N’ Care is a local Medicare Advantage health plan providing North Texas Medicare beneficiaries in Tarrant, Johnson, Dallas, Collin, Denton, Rockwall and parts of Parker County affordable alternatives that improve and simplify Medicare coverage. With both PPO and HMO health plans, Care N’ Care offers all of the traditional benefits included in original Medicare plus additional benefits and services, including a personal Healthcare Concierge to serve as the single point of contact and trusted partner throughout the members’ healthcare experience. For more information about Care N’ Care and its Medicare Advantage health plans, call 877-665-2622 or visit cnchealthplan.com.
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