On the 10th Anniversary of National Falls Prevention Awareness Day, the YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge & South Amboy wants the residents of the communities it serves to learn the risk factors of falls.

September 22 is National Falls Prevention Awareness Day and the YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge & South Amboy is joining the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and the Falls Free Coalition for 10 Years Standing Together to Prevent Falls, a day of action to help raise awareness and prevention of falls in the communities served by their YMCA.

Each year, it’s estimated that one out of three Americans aged 65 or older will suffer a fall, leaving many of these adults with a fear of falling that can cause them to limit physical activities. This leads to reduced mobility and diminished quality of life, and actually increases their risk of falling. In addition, as the population ages, falls put an immense strain on the health care system, with the financial toll expected to reach $67.7 billion by 2020. The good news is that falls are preventable. With a focus on healthy aging, the Y is committed to helping older adults learn their fall risk and access programs that can help them reduce their risk for falls.

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“As a leading community-based organization dedicated to improving the nation’s health, the Y is asking older adults, caregivers, family members and health care professionals to raise awareness and prevent falls in the older adult population,” said Paul Casey, Vice President of Operations and Branch Development at the YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge & South Amboy. “Falls are preventable, but many older adults and their families don’t know how to safely get active; the good news is that organizations like the Y can help.”

The first step to prevention is understanding risk. Older adults can assess their fall risk by taking a simple test at www.ymca.net/health-wb-fitness. Through this assessment, individuals can learn how routine activities and other factors help determine their risk for falls.

Once assessing risk, the next step is to take action. The YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge & South Amboy is helping to improve the health and well-being of older adults through programs like Aqua Fit, Arthritis Foundation Programs, Enhance Fitness, Yoga, Tai Chi, Seniorcise and Zumba GOLD.  Find out more by visiting http://www.ymcaofmewsa.org/programs/adult/health-wellness.

For example, as an avid gardener, Ann P’s participation in Enhance®Fitness helps her literally stop and smell the roses.  Along with improving mobility, it also connects her to dear friends and encourages her to try to new activities. Ann looks forward to coming to class several times a week; she feels stronger and much surer of herself while walking and doing the things she loves.

The CDC suggests these basic lifestyle and safety changes to help reduce risk or prevent falls:

·        Begin an exercise program to improve your leg strength & balance.

·        Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines.

·        Get annual eye check-ups and update your eyeglasses.

·        Make your home safer by:

  • Removing clutter and tripping hazards.
  • Putting railings on all stairs and adding grab bars in the bathroom.
  • Installing proper lighting, especially on stairs.

To learn more about the YMCA of MEWSA’s programs which will help you become stronger and have better balance, please contact Hannah Thomas at the Metuchen YMCA at 732-548-2044, Dean Seda at the Edison YMCA at 732-494-3232 or Susan Chanese at the South Amboy YMCA at 732-553-9622.

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The YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge and South Amboy is a nonprofit community organization. We are committed to strengthening our communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The YMCA is open to everyone—men, women and children—regardless of age, income or background. The YMCA never turns anyone away from membership who needs us. Donations help us to continue to keep that promise. www.ymcaofmewsa.org/give