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Be proactive to limit your fall risk

Published in Inside CentraCare, For the Health of It Author: Melissa Hjelle

Today, 10,000 Americans will celebrate their 65th birthday. And tomorrow — and the day after — another 10,000 also will do so.

As the Baby Boomer generation ages, falls and the injuries caused are becoming a growing health concern. Here is what we know about this epidemic.

  • Every 12 seconds, an older American is admitted to an emergency department due to a fall.
  • Falls are the leading cause of injuries among Americans over age 65.
  • Falls and their injuries can have serious effects on one’s overall health, independence and quality of life.

The good news is that efforts to prevent falls are having an impact. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced recently that one in four older adults will fall each year – an improvement from one in three. This may not seem like a significant shift, but it demonstrates that more older adults are taking fall prevention efforts seriously.

To reduce the risk of falls:

  • Make exercises that strengthen legs and improve balance a priority.
  • Talk with a health care provider about current medications, vision problems and if a Vitamin D supplement could help keep bones, muscles and nerves healthy.
  • Identify fall risk hazards at home by getting rid of clutter, securing or removing throw rugs and making stairways safer.

The first day of autumn is Fall Prevention Awareness Day to help recognize this issue on a national level. Locally, we will do our part on Friday, Sept. 22, by making STEADI (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths & Injuries) fall risk assessments available at multiple locations in the St. Cloud area. At CentraCare Health Plaza, St. Cloud Hospital Trauma Services will detail some practical, easy and affordable ways seniors can stay safe at home and in the community.

CentraCare Health Medical Alert Service will also be available with information on in-home and personal emergency response systems — providing peace of mind to seniors and their families.

We invite you and your family to join us at the following times and locations:

CentraCare Health Plaza
1900 CentraCare Circle in St. Cloud
Time: 9-11 a.m. and 1:30-3:30 pm.
Featured: STEADI Assessments, Fall Prevention Toolkit and Medical Alert Service presentation at the Woodlands entrance.

Church of St. Joseph
12 West Minnesota Street in St. Joseph
Time: 9-10 a.m.
Featured: STEADI Assessments

Whitney Senior Center
1527 Northway Drive in St. Cloud
Time: 9-11 a.m.
Featured: STEADI Assessments