What better day to think about falls prevention than today – the eighth annual Falls Prevention Day.
Falls among older adults are the leading cause of injury, death, hospitalization and emergency department visits in New York, according to the state Department of Health. Each year, an average of 900 residents aged 65 years or older die from injuries sustained from falling, and more than 132,000 fall-related incidents results in injuries requiring hospital treatment.
“Avoiding falls is one of the most important things adults 65 and older can do to maintain their health and independence,” Dr. Richard Vienne, Univera Healthcare vice president and chief medical officer, said in a news release.
Vienne recommended keeping an eye out for the following home hazards:
Clutter in walkways and on stairs
Slippery or inconsistent flooring surfacesUnstable furniture
Poor or inadequate lighting
Pets and pet-related objects
Lack of stair railings or grab bars
Lack of easy access bathrooms
“Statistically, men have a higher risk of death due to falls, while women have a higher risk of a hip fracture,” Vienne said.
Conditions that increase the rise of falling include:
Leg weakness is associated with a four-fold increase in the risk of falling.
Problems with gait and balance are associated with a 3-fold increase in the risk of falling.
Vision impairment increases the risk of falling by 2.5 times.
Taking four or more medications puts older adults at risk for falling.
Betty Perkins-Carpenter, who lives outside Rochester, is a falls prevention expert, former Olympic diving coach and author of the book “How to Prevent Falls: Better Balance, Independence and Energy in 6 Simple Steps.”
According to Perkins-Carpenter, performing certain movements over and over again can help strengthen muscles, improve balance and reduce the risk of injury from falling. She offers these fall prevention tips:
Practice “The 10 Martini Slump” by always relaxing into a chair or bed. Too often, seniors stiffen when they fall, increasing their chances of an injury. This exercise trains adults to learn to relax if they accidentally fall.
Turn on the radio or sing a favorite song and dance around the room holding a pillow as though it were a dance partner. Dancing forward, backward and sideways helps strengthen legs and improve balance, all of which can help adults avoid a fall.
Stretch in bed to improve flexibility and mobility and help relieve the fear of falling.
Weekly falls prevention classes across the region include:
Senior Yoga Fit: 10 a.m. Monday and Wednesday, Jewish Community Center Benderson Family Building, 2640 N. Forest Road, just past Audubon Parkway, Getzville. Nonmembers can participate by purchasing a 10-class pass for $59. For more info, call Ann Vorburger at 204-2070 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tai chi: Exercise for seniors, 10:15 a.m. Monday and Friday, West Seneca Senior Center, 4620 Seneca St., West Seneca, one mile east of Union Road. For more info, call 675-9288. Free.
Yoga for seniors: Gentle seated and standing yoga class for seniors, 11 a.m. Monday and Wednesday, West Side Community Services, 161 Vermont St.; cost is $2 per class. For more info, email email@example.com or call 510-7457.
Tai chi: 11:30 a.m. Monday, 11:15 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, JCC Benderson Family Building, 2640 N. Forest Road, near Audubon Parkway, Getzville. Nonmembers can participate by purchasing a 10-class pass for $59. For more info, contact Ann Vorburger at 204-2070 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yoga: 10 to 11:30 a.m. Monday, Dale Association, 33 Ontario St., Lockport. Cost is $5 per class per member, $8 for non-members. Bring your own yoga mat and towel. For more info, call 433-1886 or visit daleassociation.com.
Tai chi: 11 a.m. Monday, DeGraff Community Center, 139 Division St., North Tonawanda; wear loose comfortable clothes, beginners welcome. Cost is $5 per class.
Breathing for health: Learn to relax the body, refresh the mind, and speed up healing, 4:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, Peaceful Water Health & Fitness, 1914 Colvin Blvd., Town of Tonawanda. Cost is $10; for more info, visit peacefulwaterhealth.com.
Therapeutic movement: Dance-based gentle moves to increase strength and flexibility while reducing risk of falls, 9 a.m. Tuesday, St. John’s Grace, 51 Colonial Circle. Cost $8 per class. For more info, email email@example.com or call 574-5503.
Chair exercise: 10:30 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday, The Dale Association, 33 Ontario St., Lockport. Cost is $2 per class, in which light hand weights and dyna-bands are used to help increase strength, flexibility, balance and endurance to those with mobility limitations or arthritis. For more info, call 433-1886 or visit daleassociation.com.
Gentle restorative yoga: 6 p.m. Wednesday, Body Glyphix Studio, 12377 Big Tree Road, Wales Center; $12 drop-in fee, free for anyone with cancer. For more info, visit bodyglyphix.com.
Zumba Gold with Jaime: Low-impact class for beginners and older adults 9:15 a.m. Thursday, St. George Orthodox Church, 2 Nottingham Terrace, North Buffalo. Cost is $5; $40 for a punch card for 10 classes. For more info, call 574-9303 or email Zumbagwithjaime@verizon.net.
Laughter yoga: Many Haha’s Laughter Yoga Club, 6.30 to 7.30 p.m. Thursday, 546 Eggert Road; free. For more information, visit yogalaugh33.wix.com/manyhaha.
Yoga for Seniors: Basic class, 9 a.m. Friday, Clarence Senior Center, 4600 Thompson Road, Clarence. Cost is $5 per class. For info, call 633-5138.
SilverSneakers: Cardio circuit, noon to 1 p.m. Friday, Jewish Community Center, 2640 N. Forest Road, Getzville. For more info, call 688-4033. Nonmembers can participate by purchasing a pass for 10 classes for $59.
For a list of more options, see the WNY Refresh Calendar Saturday nd in The Buffalo News.