Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans. Falls are costly, in dollars and in quality of life. However, falling is not an inevitable part of aging. Through practical lifestyle adjustments, evidence-based programs, and community partnerships, the number of falls among seniors can be reduced substantially.
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Falls can be dangerous for older adults, but they are avoidable. Simple steps can help:
- Regularly review your medications with your doctor to avoid side effects that can affect your balance.
- Have your vision, prescription eyewear, and hearing checked regularly. These are important aids to good balance.
- Keep your living space balance-friendly. Remove low obstacles that are tripping hazards, and make sure carpet edges are secure from catching your feet.
- Considerer a rolling walker or other aid to help you maneuver at home or away from home safely.
- Take falls prevention training (like MSDH'S free A Matter of Balance program below) to help improve your balance, confidence and awareness of hazards.
Falls Prevention Program for Older Adults and Caregivers
The Mississippi State Department of Health offers A Matter of Balance, an evidence-based falls management program, across the state at no cost to participants. A Matter of Balance is an 8-week group training that emphasizes practical ways to reduce fear of falling and increase activity levels. Participants learn to view falls and fear of falling as controllable, set realistic goals to increase activity, change their environment to reduce fall risk factors, and exercise to increase strength and balance. The program was designed to benefit community-dwelling older adults who:
- Are concerned about falls
- Have sustained falls in the past
- Restrict activities because of concerns about falling
- Are interested in improving flexibility, balance and strength
- Are age 60 or older, ambulatory and able to problem solve
- Session 1: The group is introduced to the concept of helpful and unhelpful beliefs about falls and concerns about falling.
- Session 2: Exploring Thoughts and Concerns about Falling
- Session 3: Exercise and Fall Prevention
- Session 4: Assertiveness and Fall Prevention
- Session 5: Managing Concerns about Falling
- Session 6: Recognizing Fall-ty Behavior
- Session 7: Recognizing Fall Hazards in the Home and Community
- Session 8: Practice No Fall-ty Habits and Fall Prevention: Putting It All Together
For more information, or to schedule A Matter of Balance training, contact:
MSDH Falls Prevention Program
MSDH offers these program and services to communities through funds received from the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services, which oversees the Traumatic Brain Injury/Spinal Cord Injury Trust Fund Program.