One small accident, like tripping on a rug or slipping on a wet floor, can change your life. For older adults, a break can be the start of more serious problems, such as a hip fracture, head injury, or even death.
Since 2003, the number of deaths from falls has more than doubled in Washington state, with one in three older adults falling each year. Trip hazards are all around us, but most falls are entirely preventable.
September is Falls Prevention Month. Pierce County Aging & Disability Resources, in partnership with the Pierce County Fall Prevention Coalition, will host “Falls: The Avoidable Epidemic,” a special workshop that will focus on fall prevention at home and in the community.
Four free informational presentations will be held in September:
• Sept. 10 – 12:10 p.m., Pierce County Annex Main Meeting Room, 2401 S. 35th in Tacoma
• Sept. 11 – 10:15 a.m., Spana-Park Senior Center, 325 152nd St. E. in Tacoma
• Sept. 13 – 11 a.m., Point Defiance-Ruston Senior Center, 4716 N. Baltimore in Tacoma
• Sept. 18 – 1 p.m., Mountain View Community Center, 3607 122nd Ave. E. in Edgewood
In addition to the physical pain of falling, health care costs and rehabilitation can be draining for an individual and their family. Rather than attributing falling to age, a more appropriate examination should look at physical fitness, medications, environmental factors and behavioral hazards.
“Many older adults, particularly those 70 and older, are quick to dismiss falls as simply a part of aging,” said Aaron Van Valkenburg, Pierce County Aging and Disability Resources manager. “That is a myth that ignores underlying issues. Even simple trips can begin a downward spiral of health that leads to serious complications. We hope every senior, every adult child concerned about their aging parents and every caregiver will pay special attention to this issue and take heed before a serious fall.”
Pierce County Aging & Disability Resources and the Pierce County Fall Prevention Coalition work together to provide resources, tools and events that help seniors assess their fall risk. We also connect them to evidence-based falls prevention programs and community partnerships to reduce the chance of falling and enhance their quality of life.
Events are free and open to the public. People of all ages are encouraged to attend. No RSVP is required. For more information about the presentations call the Pierce County Aging & Disability Resource Center at 253-798-4600 or 1-800-562-0332
Bob Riler, Pierce County Aging & Disability Resources