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Welcoming Fall, and Preventing Falls!

As we welcome a new season at The Village at Germantown, we are excited for some cooler weather, the return of football games, and the buzz that surrounds the upcoming holidays.

One holiday that may not be on your radar is National Fall Prevention Awareness Day, which takes place on September 22. For many older people in America who live independently, one of the most common worries and problems is falling. Falling can result in broken bones, long-term physical therapy, and, in the worst case, death.

As we age, our bodies are not just more susceptible to falls, but we also sustain worse injuries when falls happen. To stay ahead of falls, there are things that older people can do to help prevent falls and manage the effects that come with them.

5 Ways to Prevent Falls

1. Practice Balancing Techniques

Just like anything in life, practice makes perfect! If you are experiencing troubles with balance, it is important to try new techniques that can improve your balance over time.

For instance, practicing walking in a straight line, or walking heel to toe in a line, can mimic the balance techniques that gymnasts practice on a balance beam. Getting a sense of the motion and movement required to stay in a straight line can be helpful when walking through the day.

Another option is practicing standing on one foot, while having a chair nearby to catch your balance. Switch from standing on one foot to the other, gaining stability and strength in the movement.

These are just a few techniques that can help, but there are plenty more to try! At The Village, we offer a balance class several times per week. During the class, our residents can learn more ways to focus on balance, and how they can continue to work on balance outside of class time, too. Along with balance class, classes like yoga and Tai Chi can restore your focus and make you feel more centered.

2. Be Aware of Vertigo

Often, older people face bouts of vertigo in ways that are not related to balance, but rather health issues. Health concerns such as heart and circulation problems, sinus and inner ear problems, or migraines and headaches can influence feelings of vertigo and dizziness.

When you have instances of vertigo, take time to identify the source: do you have any pain, in your arms, legs, chest, or head? Have you eaten today? Have you taken a new medication that might influence how you are feeling?

Take note of moments when you are feeling off-balance, and then talk to a healthcare professional. Some vertigo issues may be solved by medication, treatment, or further analysis of any health complications you may have.

3. Take Time to Strength Train

While being off-balance and dizzy can cause older people to fall more often, there is another equally important component: loss of strength.

As we age, our muscles deteriorate and simple tasks begin to take more focus and effort. One of the ways to reduce the impacts of falling is to stay strong and active. Even if you are not active now, there is no better time to get started!

Try getting started by using light weights. Work your arms, legs, and core muscles to increase stability and define your center of gravity. Stretching and keeping your muscles limber will also allow you to move a little more quickly and react faster if a fall occurs.

Along with the classes we mentioned – such as balance, yoga, and Tai Chi – there are other ways to get active at The Village. Facilities like our gym and pool keep you moving; classes like line dancing and ballroom dance make being active fun; and regular events around the community keep residents engaged and ready for activity.

4. Talk to Your Doctor

Sometimes, older people find dizziness or loss of control as a sign of weakness. The worst thing that you can do is ignore these signs and keep living life as your normally would. Stop, identify the balance issues, and talk to your doctor.

Unfortunately, balance problems can indicate serious health issues, such as cardiac troubles, diabetes, or even cancer. The sooner you can find out why you are dizzy, the sooner you can get help and avoid hurting yourself.

5. Have a Plan

If you have talked to your doctor and know you are prone to dizzy spells, based on a health condition or matters outside of your control, the best thing you can do is have a plan.

Many older people opt for life alert buttons or another system that can react and send help during a fall. For many older people living independently, it is important to have a system in place that gets you the help you need during a fall.

For our residents at The Village – both in the independent and assisted living communities – we are here for you as you age, and as you need help with your health. If you have worries about falls, how to prevent them, and what plans can be put in place to help you, please ask.

At The Village, we check in with our residents, as we ask them all to check in each morning; if a resident does not check in, we contact them or go by their residence to see if everything is okay. By having a team in place to help residents, The Village can help reduce the likelihood of falls and the effects that falls can have.

Fall Prevention Awareness

The first step to preventing falls is knowing how to prepare for them! Heightening awareness around fall prevention keeps older people aware of warning signs and able to take preventative measures, if possible.

Having a partner like The Village means older people can rest easy knowing there is always someone there to help if a fall occurs. Also, we have medical care on campus for any feelings of dizziness or uneasiness about balance. We invest in the health and overall well being of our residents through fun programs and classes that improve balance and increase strength over time.

If you or a loved one want to learn more about how The Village can prevent falls and secure your peace of mind, let's talk today.


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