SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- September 22 is National Falls Prevention Awareness Day, and the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA is joining the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and the Falls Free Coalition for this annual initiative, a day of action to help raise awareness and prevention of falls in our community.
Each year, it is estimated that one-fourth of 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.
“As a leading community-based organization dedicated to building a culture of health for all families, 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 Sheri Cognetti, Senior Director of the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA. “Falls are preventable, but when an older adult falls, it not only affects the individual but negatively impacts our families and communities.”
The first step to prevention is understanding risk. Older adults can assess their fall risk by taking a simple test found here. Through this assessment, individuals can learn how routine activities and other factors help determine their risk for falls.
Once the risk is assessed, the next step is to take action. The Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA is helping to improve the health and well-being of older adults across the country through programs like Moving For Better Balance, a Tai Chi-based program, Enhance Fitness, and Healthy Bones.
“I started taking the Tai Chi class to improve my balance. I was concerned about falling, like many of us who are getting older. I wanted to make sure that before I was at risk of falling, that I did something to improve my balance,” said Margaret Lewis, a Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA member who has been taking Moving For Better Balance for three years. “It has helped tremendously. The fear has been eliminated. I have learned steps I can use to steady myself. The improvement is noticeably different.”
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 & update your eyeglasses.
- Make your home safer by:
- Removing clutter and tripping hazards.
- Putting railings on stairs and adding grab bars in the bathroom.
- Installing proper lighting, especially on stairs.
To learn more about the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA programs, contact Donna Peart at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA
The Y is the nation’s leading nonprofit committed to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. For information on membership or programs, or to request a schedule of classes, please call the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA at (908) 889-8880 or visit https://fspymca.org. Financial assistance is available for those who qualify.