Last month, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Ohio Department of Aging Director Bonnie K. Burman unveiled Steady U Ohio, a new statewide initiative to prevent falls – the number one cause of injuries leading to ER visits, hospital stays and deaths among Ohioans age 65 and older.
“It is not an exaggeration to call falls an epidemic in Ohio,” Kasich said. “Ohio's seniors are integral members of our communities and we want them to live long, healthy lives. To help keep older Ohioans safe and maintain their independence, we are calling on every county, every community and every individual to learn what each of us can do to prevent falls and falls-related injuries. Working together, we can reduce falls among our elders.”
The Steady U Ohio initiative will create a one-stop online resource for falls prevention; expand A Matter of Balance education and exercise program; partner with businesses to create Fall-Free Zones; promote falls risk assessments in nursing homes and home- and community-based care settings; and target and educate high-risk populations through key partnerships.
“Falls are not a natural part of the aging process, and most falls can be prevented,” Burman said. “Elders who have fallen are often reluctant to tell anyone about it. “Through Steady U Ohio, we are empowering elders to take steps to reduce their risk of falling again.”
Falls prevention information, tools, tips and other resources are available on Steady U Ohio’s website at www.steadyu.ohio.gov or by connecting with Steady U Ohio via Facebook and Twitter.
Stay active and healthy to prevent falls
• Simple exercise, like walking or swimming at least 15 minutes a day can help build muscle strength and improve balance, which can prevent falls.
• Find a good balance and exercise program, like tai chi, to build balance, strength, and flexibility. Select a program you like and take a friend. Consult with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine or program.
• Talk to your health care provider and ask for an assessment of your risk of falling. Share your history of recent falls.
• Regularly review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist for side effects that may increase your risk of falling.
• Get your vision and hearing checked annually and update your eyeglasses.
• Slow down and think through the task you are performing. Be mindful of possible falls risks and act accordingly.
• Drink 6-8 glasses of non-alcoholic liquids each day to prevent low blood pressure, fatigue and confusion.
• Eat a well-balanced diet with a variety of vegetables and calcium-rich foods like yogurt, cheese, milk, orange juice, tofu and calcium-fortified cereals to promote your health.