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Beacon of HOPE Wellness Committee: Do you have concerns about falling?

September 12, 2017
By Nancy Buthman (Special to The Eagle) , Pine Island Eagle

Fear of falling is a common concern shared by many among older adults. Over 1/3 of adults over 65 experience a fall each year and the numbers are rising. In 2001 over 1.6 million seniors were treated in the emergency room for fall related injuries. Anyone who has had a fall knows the feeling of losing control and how much it hurts. A fall can cause serious fractures or head injuries and can lead to a long recovery, disability, loss of independence and even death.

There are many reasons people experience a fall dizziness, muscle weakness, tripping and simply a loss of balance. If you have dizziness or feel unsteady, check with your doctor. Get your vision checked regularly. Vision starts declining in your 40s. Reduce home hazards such as loose rugs, electrical cords and poor lighting. Add grab bars, if needed. The most common cause of falls comes from the normal aging process when muscle strength and balancing skills start to decline. The fact is, it doesn't have to be that way. Increasing lower body strength and improving balance is very effective in preventing falls. The old adage "use it or lose it" is very appropriate here.

There are barriers to exercise for older adults. For example, people who have pain from arthritis tend to decrease their activity even though this often leads to even more stiffness and joint pain. Concerns about falling can lead to restriction of activities and thus increase the fall risk. Depression also leads to decreased activity.

There is no doubt that increasing your activity and exercising to increase strength and balance can make a huge difference in preventing falls. Medical research shows that everyone can grow stronger through increased activity no matter what your age or even if you use a cane or a walker.

If you have concerns about falling and want to learn better ways to manage this problem, there will be a class at the Beacon of HOPE classroom starting Monday, Sept 18, and every Monday through Nov. 6, from 1-3 p.m. There is no charge. This program is sponsored by the Area Agency on Aging for SW Florida and is designed to manage falls and increase activity levels. Pre-registration is required. Please call 1-866-413-5337.

Join us. It is a great time to take charge of your life.

The Beacon of HOPE is located at 5090 Doug Taylor Circle, St. James City. You can contact the center at or 239-283-5123 or online at beaconofhopepine



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