The kind of fall that’s never pretty: How seniors can avoid falls

Local News

FILE – In this April 16, 2020, file photo, Richard Eberhardt walks along a corridor at a nursing home in Kaysesberg, France. Countries across Europe are struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic with the dilemma of leaving the elderly and others near death in enforced solitude or whether to allow some personal contact with relatives. At nursing homes, everything is done to keep out visitors who might be infected, and family members are almost always banned from coming to see their loved ones. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias, File)

The Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) wants to empower older adults in Illinois to reduce their risk of falls, and has tips for prevention. Falls are one of the greatest causes of serious injuries and death among people ages 65 and older.

IDoA is partnering with the National Council on Aging (NCOA) to emphasize Falls Prevention Awareness Week, according to a news release.

As part of this national outreach campaign, IDoA is raising awareness among older Illinoisans to identify services available. IDoA can connect older adults and their caregivers with trustworthy local support resources to help that can assist older adults with providing groceries, assistive technology, access to ethnic meals, home modifications, and rental assistance. For more information, visit the department’s Provider Profile search tool.

Additionally, visitors to www.ncoa.org/FallsFreeCheckUp can complete a short, 12-question survey that screens them for the most common falls risk factors.

“Unfortunately, the home is the number one place where falls occur, and with many older Illinoisans spending more time at home these days, it’s important to take the steps you can to reduce fall risks in your home,” said Paula Basta, director of IDoA. “The NCOA has a strong history of helping older residents in Illinois, and we’re proud to be part of this national education and outreach initiative that is helping millions of older adults age well and stay falls free.”

People can prepare to safely stay inside during the COVID-19 pandemic with these fall-prevention tips:

• Home safety: Find and fix trip and fall hazards in your home. Consider rearranging your kitchen, so commonly used items are within reach. Remove throw rugs, as they are a tripping hazard, and wrap cords or wires and keep them off the floor if you can.

• Physical activity: Physical activity is a great way to prevent falls. Many exercises can be done at home.

• Care for your feet: Wear proper-fitting, nonslip footwear, even at home.

• Medicine safety: Continue your medicine routine. Don’t wait until the last minute to have your medications refilled. Talk to your pharmacist and health care insurer to see if your insurance plan offers a more affordable mail-order option. Some insurers allow early refills and extend the term of a prescription from a 30-day supply to a 90-day supply. (See more on how Medicare is responding to COVID-19.) Additionally, if you rely on others to help fill your weekly medication boxes or remind you to take your medications, consider the Automated Medication Dispenser Program (AMD). AMD is a service provided under IDoA’s Community Care Program.

IDoA, its 13 Area Agencies on Aging, and 55 Care Coordination Units are working to ensure services provided by the agency are never interrupted. For more information, visit www.illinois.gov/aging or contact the Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 (hearing impaired call 888-206-1327) or by email aging.ilsenior@illinois.gov.

About NCOA
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a national leader working to ensure that every person can age well. Since 1950, its mission has not changed: Improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are struggling.

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