Waushara County Health News By Waushara County Health Department
The word brings to mind beautiful colors of trees, the smell of apples and pumpkin pie, and kids playing in piles of leaves. It is a pleasant thought, but what about the unpleasant, even scary meaning of the word fall.
Fall often means injury, such as when your toe catches on a rug and your body crumbles to the floor, or when you try to carry too much into the house and do not see the cat under your feet. We all know someone who has fallen or we have fallen ourselves. It is scary to realize just how quickly things can change.
Falls, especially in the elderly, can mean the end of independent living. Falls can cause injuries that are not easily recovered from.
Here are a few facts about falls: falls are the second leading cause of death in Wisconsin and the first cause for hospitalization; approximately every 29 minutes an older person dies from a fall related injury; one in four people who fall will end up going to a nursing home.
About 55 percent of falls happen inside the home. It is where people do things without much thought. We get up too quickly from the chair and maybe get a bit dizzy. We do not have good night lights and trip on something that fell on the floor during the night. We climb on a chair to reach something in a high cupboard or to change a light bulb. We all do these things without much thought; but that reason alone is why most falls happen in the home.
So, you fall and you are hurt, but not too badly. The fall shakes you up and causes you to be afraid of another fall. The fear of falling can actually put you at greater risk of falling again because you avoid activities, which then weakens your body. A weakened body increases the chances of you falling.
You can work to improve your strength and balance as you age to reduced chances of falling. Many county Aging departments will offer classes to help you with strengthening and balance. They may offer classes on living with chronic illnesses and fall prevention. You can check with the Senior Center in your area to find information on classes on strengthening/balance such as yoga or Tai Chi, both can help improve strength and balance.
Falling is not a natural part of aging. Falls can change your life.
Affinity Health in Appleton will be offering a free Fall Prevention Community Event on Tuesday, Oct. 30 starting at 9 a.m. at Bubolz Nature Preserve, 4815 N. Lynndale Drive Appleton. There will be a national key note speaker and many sessions directly related to fall prevention. This event is intended for everyone and especially those who are at risk of falling or who have fallen in the past. Pre-registration is appreciated by calling NurseDirect at 1-800-362-9900. A flyer can be picked up at Waushara County Health Department front desk.