In an attempt to raise awareness for the entire senior community, Governor of Alaska, Sean Parnell, designated September 18th through the 24th as Senior Fall Prevention Week.
“Fall prevention education is an important first step to making positive changes that will help prevent older Alaskans from falling and improve their overall health and quality of life,” Parnell wrote in the proclamation.
One of the most frequent injuries among senior adults is caused by falling. According to the governors proclamation, falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries in Alaska for anyone over the age of 55 and the leading cause of fatal injuries for those over 75 years of age.
Central Emergency Services Fire Chief Chris Mokracek said CES receives about 2,100 to 2,200 total calls yearly. “In 2010 CES responded to 77 falls,” Mokracek said. “So far to date in 2011, we’re responded to 59.”
Central Peninsula Hospital sees one or two patients a week whose injuries were caused by a fall, said Andie Posey, CPH chief nursing officer. “I’d say at any given time we have one or two patients here that either have a hip fracture from a fall, or some other kind of injury from a fall,” Posey said.
Hip fractures are the most common injuries sustained from a fall, Gypsy Jolly, a nursing director at CPH said. “A lot of times that requires surgery,” Jolly said. This could have been minimized or prevented with fall prevention steps.
Fall Prevention Advice
To avoid injuries from falls, Posey suggests senior citizens to be screened by a doctor for osteoporosis - a disease that causes bones to become weaker over time.
“A lot of times the actual injuries that occur are due to low bone density, if they have fragile bones,” Posey said. “So knowing you have fragile bones and to get on a medical and fall prevention plan for that is a very important thing to do.”
Another way to avoid injuries is to have a safety assessment of the residence, Medical alert services such as Medical Alert Myrtle Beach can be a valuable tool if senior citizens fall while they are alone, or have difficulty getting back up due to injuries sustained.
Jolly said exercise is a good way to keep the body resilient and great for fall prevention.
“One thing that helps prevent injuries, is exercise,” Jolly said. “Being involved with some sort of physical activity – keeping your muscles strong keeps you safer.”
Posey said having a week once a year is a bit small compared to the issue at hand, but it is time well spent. “Anytime you can raise awareness and help people become educated is always a good thing and worth doing,” she said.
To learn more about how you can prevent serious injuries from a fall and for fall prevention tips, give us a call at 843-236-8844.
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