September 18-22 is Falls Prevention Awareness Week
Last updated: September 13, 2023, at 10:02 a.m. PT
Originally published: September 13, 2023, at 10:02 a.m. PT
Every second of every day, an older adult suffers a fall in the United States, making falls the leading cause of injury and injury death in this age group. One out of four older adults will fall yearly in the United States, making falls a public health concern, particularly among the aging population.
September 18-22 is Falls Prevention Awareness Week! It’s important to acknowledge that while we can fall at any age and our chances increase as we age, falling doesn’t have to be a normal part of aging. Most falls are preventable.
The CDC recommends older adults do four things to help prevent falls:
- Speak up – only half of those who fall tell their doctor, who may need to change medication or make other adjustments in response
- Get annual eye and foot exams – eyewear prescription strengths and orthotics needs may change over time.
- Make your home safer – secure rugs, remove clutter, and install grab bars, non-slip mats, and improved lighting.
- Keep moving - exercise to improve balance and strength, focusing on strengthening legs and core.
Number four is where the Y comes in! Staying active and exercising to build strength and balance is key to maintaining independence and preventing falls. The Y’s Active Older Adult (AOA) programs cater exclusively to those 55 and older, bringing together those in the same stage of life where concerns about things like fall prevention aren’t unique, and programs are adapted to fit your unique activity level and capabilities. Pursuing goals together actually makes it more likely you’ll achieve them and offers the chance to build relationships with your peers.
The Y’s Active Older Adult (AOA) group fitness classes include options like tai chi (specifically recommended by the CDC for fall prevention) and yoga, dance, circuit, and strength training. Many class formats are offered with a chair to provide an option for a sitting workout or a place to steady yourself. Water fitness is also a great choice that provides a low-impact and effective workout to improve cardiovascular fitness, overall strength, and flexibility through resistance and buoyancy.
Not sure where to start? YMCA members can book a free 30-minute session with a coach to make a Personalized Wellness Plan to set achievable goals.