Every year, September 21-25 marks Falls Prevention Awareness Week, an annual reminder of the importance of balance for seniors. Falling should not be a normal part of aging, which is why Kisco Senior Living established the Stand Strong program for its communities, including La Posada in Palm Beach Gardens.
Stand Strong is a key component that helps residents implement practical changes to their daily lifestyle and provide better choices to remain active, independent and stand strong. One in three adults aged 65 and older falls each year, and falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations. Unfortunately, many South Florida seniors can relate to the experience.
Carol M. recently made the move to La Posada and finds that two weekly exercise classes made a big impact on her balance in just three short months. Prior to moving, she often found she wasn’t walking straight. A combination of balance, strength and tai chi classes helped improve her stride. Having undergone chemo two years ago, she’s now healthy and rebuilding many of the muscles impacted by her treatment.
According to Carol, just two years ago she had trouble just walking up the curb. Carol is able to sign-up for socially distanced fitness classes or take classes in her apartment, following along through the community’s in-network tv channel.
Moving to the community also made a big impact on her emotional and social well-being. She can now see others safely at the community and doesn’t feels isolated. Previously, she had been social distancing in her own home and rarely left except to go to the grocery store a few times a month.
Here are a few tips and reminders to anyone with falls prevention:
- Take Your Time: Being rushed or distracted increases your chance of falling. Get out of chairs slowly. Sit a moment before getting out of bed.
- Clear the Way: Keep walking areas free of electrical cords, shoes, clothing, books, magazines and other clutter.
- Look Out for Yourself: See an eye specialist once a year. Poor vision can increase your chances of falling. Improve the lighting in your home. Use night lights to light the path between your bedroom and the bathroom.
- Slippery When Wet: Use non-slip mats in the bathroom and on shower floors. Use grab bars on the wall next to the bathtub, shower and toilet. Wipe up spilled liquids immediately.
- Throw Rugs Can Throw You: Eliminate throw rugs in your home.
- Tread Carefully: Pathways should be well lit. Use handrails installed along corridors to steady yourself.
- Best Foot Forward: Wear sturdy, well-fitting shoes with non-slip soles. These are safer than high heels, slippers or bare feet.
*Photos of Fall Prevention class taken before 2020!