Centegra Health System recognizes the statewide Fall Prevention Awareness Day Sept. 22 and aims to prevent falls among the elderly. It is estimated that about one-third of community-dwelling persons aged 65 years and older have one or more falls each year, many of which are associated with significant morbidity, including hip fracture, reduced functioning and even mortality.
Karen Battaglia, trauma coordinator at Centegra Hospital-McHenry said fall prevention should focus on three areas. First, all older adults should participate in regular exercise to improve balance and strength. Second, all older adults should review their medications with their physician. Third, poor vision is linked to falling; all older adults should have regular vision checkups.
“Knowing about the impact and causes of falls will assist residents in preventing falls from occurring,” said Melanie Korzuchowski, trauma coordinator at Centegra Hospital-Woodstock. “Falls are among the most common reasons for a decline in older individual’s ability to manage his or her own daily activities. This may lead to a need for daily assistance, admission to a skilled facility, or movement to an assisted living environment.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls may cause moderate to severe injuries, such as hip fractures and head traumas, and can increase the risk of early death. Some of the common medical conditions that lead to falls include unstable balance, decreased muscle strength, hip weakness, visual or hearing impairment, dizziness, and chronic medical conditions.
Here are a few effective strategies to help older adults reduce the risk of falling:
- Engage in a physical activity regimen that includes balance, strength training, and flexibility.
- Consult with a health professional about getting a falls risk assessment.
- Have medications reviewed periodically.
- Get eyes checked each year.
- Make sure the home and community environments are safe and supportive.
To lower their hip fracture risk, older adults should:
- Get adequate calcium and vitamin D from food or from supplements.
- Complete weight bearing exercise.
- Get screened and treated for osteoporosis.
Centegra Health System is committed to meeting the health care needs of the residents of greater McHenry County and to making services available in multiple and convenient locations, including hospitals in McHenry and Woodstock, Immediate and Physician Care Centers, Centegra Sage Cancer Center, Health Bridge Fitness Centers and more. As the region’s leading health care provider, Centegra Health System continues to bring the latest treatments and technology, along with the skills of nearly 4,000 medical professionals, to meet the needs of the growing McHenry County community. For more information on Centegra Health System visit Facebook and Twitter or call 877-CENTEGRA (877-236-8347).