NDDoH: Preventing falls start with you

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Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury deaths for people 60 years and older in North Dakota.

In 2018, 80 seniors living in North Dakota died from a fall. The chances of falling and being seriously injured in a fall increase with age.

“Falls are not a normal part of aging. We encourage seniors and their families to take proactive steps to prevent falls,” said Injury Prevention Program Director for the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDOH) Mandy Slag.

“Falls are often due to hazards that are easy to overlook and quick to fix.”

The NDDoH recommends these tips to prevent falls:

  • Get some exercise: Lack of exercise can lead to weak legs, which increases the chance of falling. Programs like Tai Chi and Stepping On can increase strength and improve balance making falls less likely for aging adults.
  • Be mindful of medications: Certain medicines, or combinations of medicines, can have side effects such as dizziness or drowsiness which can make falls more likely. Having a doctor or pharmacist review all your medications can help reduce the chance of side effects and drug interactions.
  • Keep your vision sharp: Poor vision can make it harder to move around safely. To ensure you are seeing clearly, have your eyes checked every year and wear glasses or contact lenses with the right prescription strength.
  • Eliminate hazards at home: A home safety checklist is available from the NDDoH and can help you identify fall hazards such as clutter, rugs and poor lighting.
  • Register for a falls prevention class: There are many communities in North Dakota offering classes like Stepping On that build strength, improve balance and educate seniors on potential hazards.

For more information about the Stepping On falls prevention workshops for people 60 years and older, visit http://ndhealth.gov/injury/SteppingOn.htm.

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