Today, the Iowa Falls Prevention Coalition reminded Iowans of the dangers of falling and that two successful programs are available that may help older citizens lessen their chances of falling.
Risks of injury due to falls have come back into the news lately as well known public figures - talk show host Barbara Walters and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - sustained falls resulting in injuries that required hospital stays.
“With these well-known people suffering injuries from falls, the Iowa Falls Prevention Coalition (IFPC) wants to take the opportunity to remind Iowa’s older citizens that there are resources available to lessen their chances of falling,” stated Binnie LeHew of the Office of Disability, Injury & Violence Prevention at the Iowa Department of Public Health.
Falls are the leading cause of injury death for Iowans age 65 and older, and the leading cause of injury hospitalizations and emergency visits in Iowa. The Iowa Department on Aging (IDA) and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) offer two programs that can help make older Iowans stronger, more balanced and less likely to fall:
Matter of Balance:  Emphasizes practical coping strategies to reduce the concern of falling and help older Iowans remain active and independent. The program consists of eight two-hour sessions led by trained facilitators.  During the class, participants learn to:
View falls and fear of falling as controllable
Set realistic goals for increasing activity
Find ways to change the environment to reduce fall risk factors
Learn simple exercises to increase strength and balance.
Falling is not a natural part of aging and can be avoided by assessing your risk factors and making changes to your environment.
Enhanced Fitness:  Is a low-cost, highly adaptable exercise program offering levels that are challenging enough for active older adults and levels that are safe enough for the unfit or near frail.  One-hour group classes are led by a trained facilitator and include exercises such as:  stretching, flexibility, balance, low-impact aerobics, and strength-training.
“Older Iowans can reduce their risk of falling, and these two proven programs can empower them to take charge and lessen their risk of injuries by falling,” Barb McClintock, Iowa Falls Prevention Coalition Chair, stated.
Nationally, it is estimated that, every 15 seconds, an older adult is seen in an Emergency Department for a fall-related injury. Statistics show that the chances of falling and of being seriously injured in a fall increase with age.
For more information on fall prevention visit:  http://www.idph.state.ia.us/FallPrevention/.
To find out more about the Matter of Balance and Enhanced Fitness classes available in your community, visit: www.iowaging.gov.
The Iowa Falls Prevention Coalition (IFPC) is a collaborative initiative between government (Iowa Departments on Aging and Public Health), community and healthcare systems.  Its mission is to reduce injuries by falls through public awareness and education on fall prevention.