The CICOA Blog

The Truth About Fall

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“[T]hat old September feeling, left over from school days, of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air … Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year’s mistakes had been wiped clean by summer.” ― Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose

I like the fall of the year.  It’s a great time for a walk through the woods to see the leaves turning.  Football.  School buses.  It’s not time yet to haul out the winter coat, but you might put on a favorite sweater.

Unfortunately, fall can also be a serious, life-changing event for older adults. Falls are Indiana’s leading cause of emergency department visits (1,901 per 100,000), hospital admissions (163 per 100,000), and for Hoosiers 65 and older, death from traumatic injury (795 from 2007-2009).

We designate the autumnal equinox, the start of autumn–please forgive the awful pun–as “Fall Prevention Awareness Day.” CICOA’s annual Safe At Home Day is part of this effort to raise awareness of fall risks in the home and how to prevent or reduce them.    Identifying and reducing tripping hazards in the home (a loose rug, a poorly lit entryway), or installing a grab bar or a handrail are all low cost efforts that can reduce the likelihood of a senior falling and ending up in the emergency room.

CICOA is a member of the Indiana Falls Prevention Coalition, a group of public, private and nonprofit organizations that work together to raise awareness of fall prevention.   The Coalition is part of a national effort, the Falls Free Initiative.   Falls Free includes education, advocacy and awareness of the risk, and costs of falls and ways to prevent them.

Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce the risk of falling.   Proper diet is always important, especially as we get older.   Taking medication?   A medication review can help identify any side effects or associated risk that might lead to falls.  Are you exercising regularly?   Staying fit is another way to reduce the risk of falls.  Walking, participating in a yoga or Tai Chi class, working out at the gym, all reduce your fall risk and make you feel better, too.

It’s never too late to start.  Even if you’ve been a couch potato, even if you have terrible eating habits or put on a few extra pounds, taking up a new good habit will make you feel better, improve your health, and reduce your risk of falling.

Because fall really should be about football and autumn leaves.

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