Healthy Aging & Injury Prevention

Falls Prevention Statistics

  • About 1 in 3 people age 65 and over fall each year (CDC, 2015)
  • Over 2.5 million older adults go the emergency room, and over 734,000 are hospitalized each year due to fall related injuries (CDC, 2015)
  • In 2013, the U. S. costs of fall-related injuries for people 65 years and older was over 34 billion dollars (CDC, 2015)
  • More than ½ the falls occur in someone’s own home (NIH, 2014)

 

Common Falls Risk Factors

  • Fear of falling
  • Feeling unsteady when walking
  • Falls in the past year; advanced age
  • Incorrect usage of walkers, canes
  • Various medical conditions
  • Changes in blood pressure with position changes (CDC, 2014)
  • Uncorrected vision problems
  • Foot problems
  • Incontinence
  • Problems with heart rate/rhythm
  • Depression, thinking problems
  • Strength, balance, walking problems

 

Pitt County Council on Aging Falls Prevention & Home Safety Services

Falls are preventable and are not a normal part of aging (CDC, 2014)!  Here is a listing of the services we offer through the agency to help reduce the fall risk of adults age 55 and older who reside in Pitt County.

  • Home Safety Assessments are conducted to provide recommendations to improve one’s safety within the home.
  • Balance and Falls Risk Screenings are conducted to help individuals identify risk factors and learn strategies to improve their safety and reduce their risk of falling.
  • A Matter of Balance evidence-based group classes are provided to help decrease the fear of falling and provide instruction on falls prevention and basic exercises to help reduce falls risk. Please view the calendar and upcoming events to sign up for the classes.
  • Bathroom grab bars and stair handrails are provided to low income seniors 60 years of age and over who have a history of falls or are at risk of falling. These are provided through a variety of funding sources, including partnering with faith based and civic groups. Assistance is based on available funding and staffing.

To find out more about these services or to schedule an appointment to receive services, please contact the Healthy Aging Specialist. For professionals: to make a referral for services for a client you are working with, please contact us at (252) 752-1717.

 

Proven Strategies to Reduce Your Fall Risk

Strategies to Reduce Your Risk of Falls

 

Participate in Regular Exercise (with your doctor’s approval)

  • Check with your doctor about beginning an exercise program
  • Exercise is one of the best ways to maintain/improve your strength, balance, flexibility (CDC, 2014)

 

Inform Your Doctor if you are Worried About Falling or Have Fallen

  • Less than ½ the adults age 65 and over who fall let their physician know about the fall
  • The doctor can help identify why you fell and help you reduce your risk of future falls (CDC, 2014)

 

Have your Medications Reviewed by your Doctor or Pharmacist

  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medications (CDC, 2014)
  • Tell your doctor if you take a medication causing daytime dizziness or sleepiness (CDC, 2014)

 

Have your Vision and Hearing Checked at Least Once a Year

  • Have a vision exam and a hearing exam to help identify changes requiring treatment
  • Your vision and hearing are important to avoid obstacles on the floor
  • Use a contrasting color at the edge of steps if they are difficult to see
  • Use a bell or sound on a pet’s collar if it’s difficult to identify where they are (CDC, 2014; Falls Prevention Center of Excellence, 2014)

 

Make your Home Safe

  • Place sturdy handrails on stairs and use adequate lighting
  • Secure or remove scatter rugs
  • Use adequate lighting
  • Use non-slip mats in the tub/shower
  • Use grab bars in the bathroom
  • Use a higher toilet seat if the toilet is too low
  • Obtain a shower chair if you need to sit down to safely shower (CDC, 2014)
  • Watch this 14 minute video on strategies to make your home safer to reduce fall risk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-GxUWIc_lY

  • Here is a home safety checklist by the Centers on Disease Control and Prevention

http://www.cdc.gov/steadi/pdf/check_for_safety_brochure-a.pdf

 

Inform your Family if you are Worried about Falling or Have Fallen

  • Your family can assist you with making activity changes to reduce your fall risk
  • Your family can assist you with making changes to increase your safety in the home (NCOA, 2014)

 

Have Your Blood Pressure Checked Regularly

  • Talk with your physician if you have dizziness when you stand up quickly
  • Change positions slowly to avoid feeling lightheaded
  • For example, move slowly from sitting to standing and standing to walking (CDC, 2014)

 

Additional Falls Prevention Resources and Information

 

North Carolina Resources

  • The North Carolina Falls Prevention Hub is a centralized location for falls prevention services, programs, and information for North Carolina for participants and professionals
  • The North Carolina Falls Prevention Coalition has statistics and fact sheets related to falls in North Carolina

https://sites.google.com/site/ncfallsprevention/

 

National Resources

  • The National Falls Prevention Resource Center, housed at the National Council on Aging, has videos, a listing of evidence-based falls prevention programs, and educational information related to falls prevention

https://www.ncoa.org/healthy-aging/falls-prevention

  • The Falls Prevention Center of Excellence has handouts and information about a variety of falls prevention and home safety topics www.stopfalls.org

 

Awards and Honors for Reducing Falls and Improving Health

The Pitt County Council on Aging has been honored with its work for improving the health and safety of older adults in Pitt County. A listing of our awards for this work is included below.

  • 2015: The Pitt County Council on Aging’s Falls Prevention & Home Safety program received a ‘Reaching for the Stars-Innovative Program Award’ from the North Carolina Association on Aging for having an innovative and creative program that is ‘working to enrich the lives of older adults.’
  • 2015: The Pitt County Council on Aging received the ‘Sylvia M. English Community Health Hero Award’ from Pitt Partners for Health in “recognition of outstanding efforts to improve the health of citizens in our community.
  • 2013: The Pitt County Council on Aging was featured in the National Council on Aging’s Falls Prevention Awareness Day “Preventing Falls – One Step at a Time; A Compendium of State and National Activities”
  • 2008: The Pitt County Council on Aging was highlighted by the National Center for Injury Prevention & Control in “Preventing Falls: How to Develop Community-based Fall Prevention Programs for Older Adults”
  • 2007: The Pitt County Council on Aging falls prevention program received a national award from the Falls Free Coalition Home Safety Council for being one of the 10 most creative programs and practices in  home assessment and modification in the country. The program was also written up in a publication entitled: “The Creative Practices in Home Safety Assessment and Modification Study”