The DODD Major Unusual Incident (MUI) Unit, in partnership with the Ohio Department of Aging’s Steady U Ohio initiative, encourages all Ohioans to learn how to help a person with a disability, or a senior citizen, avoid what could be a life-altering fall. Research shows that one in three older adults will fall this year – a disturbing statistic. Talking about the subject shows caring, and helps reduce risk. Here are some ideas from Steady U:
- Talk with a doctor about medications. Pain medication, as well as common prescriptions for high blood pressure and other conditions, can cause dizziness and loss of balance. Encourage people to talk to their doctor about treatment options to reduce the risk of falling. Ask for a falls risk assessment.
- Help the person remain physically active. Any type of movement helps, from simply lifting one’s legs while watching TV, to walking and taking part in exercise programs. Focus on activities that build strength and balance.
- Promote good nutrition and hydration. A balanced diet promotes overall good health, and drinking plenty of water helps prevent low blood pressure, dizziness, fatigue, and confusion.
- Encourage appropriate use of assistive devices. Walkers, canes, folding step stools with hand rails, and reaching and grabbing tools are helpful — but only if adjusted and used properly.
- Include people in decisions about changes to their home. There are many simple and inexpensive changes that can significantly reduce the risk of slipping, tripping, and falling.
In addition, the MUI Unit has developed a Falls Prevention Webinar Series (information and registration). Attend one webinar or all four! Each offers one hour of Continuing Professional Development credit for successful completion.
Your area agency on aging also can help connect people to services and resources, including minor home modifications and A Matter of Balance workshops. Call 866-243-5678 for the agency serving your community.
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