iStock_000008005628LargeSeptember is National Falls Prevention Month and in Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has issued a proclamation calling for community partnerships to promote a falls free Arizona. Our most recent data from 2015 shows more than half of falls-related hospitalizations end up in skilled nursing facilities. People 85 and older have the highest rates of fatal and nonfatal fall injuries.

Falls are preventable and not a natural part of aging . People can reduce the incidence of falls, injuries, hospitalizations, and long-term loss of independence by reducing risk factors for falls. If you or someone in your family suffers from cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive and lower respiratory disease, diabetes, asthma, cancer, obesity, Alzheimer’s and related dementias, mental health, substance use, and disabilities they may be at high risk for falls.

Ask your healthcare provider for a referral to one of the evidence-based physical activity programs such as Tai Chi for arthritis, Matter of Balance, and SAIL. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging Senior Helpline for a home safety assessment. You can also make simple changes to your environment that can help prevent falls. Below is a list of ten things you can buy for less than $20 that will lower your risk for a fall.

·         Shower or bathtub mat

·         Grab Bars for your shower or tub

·         Non-slip bathtub strips

·         Velcro strips to secure electrical cords

·         Non-slip safety grip pad for rugs

·         Motion sensor sight light

·         Slip resistant socks

·         Non-slip tape (skid tape for stairs)

·         Raised toilet seat

·         Wheelchair seatbelt

To learn more about falls and related resources please visit our Falls Prevention Website.