Saturday, September 22 is National Falls Prevention Awareness Day and The Gateway Family YMCA is joining the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and the Falls Free Coalition to help raise awareness and prevention of falls in the community.
Each year, it’s estimated that one out of four Americans aged 65 or older will suffer a fall, leaving many 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 can increase 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 provide resources that can help them reduce their risk for falls.
“Even older adults who are in good health can suffer a fall, and many families oftentimes underestimate the risks and steps needed to prevent them,” said Krystal R. Canady, CEO, The Gateway Family YMCA. “Fortunately, community-based organizations like the Y are a great resource for any older adult, family member or caregiver who wants to learn what they can do to not only decrease the risk of a fall but improve overall health and well-being,” said Melynda A. Mileski, EVP/COO.
The first step to prevention is understanding risk. Older adults can assess their fall risk by taking a simple test at ymca.net/fallsrisk. 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 Gateway Family YMCA is helping to improve the health and well-being of older adults across the country through programs like Enhanced Fitness, Water Exercise, and Active Older Adults group exercise programs.
“Water fitness programs encourage people of all ages to use the buoyant qualities of the water to enhance their physical fitness through regular exercise, adapted for the aquatic environment. It is an ideal form of exercise for active older adults, increasing physical strength and endurance without putting stress and strain on joints,” stated Hans Stockman, Aquatics Director, The Gateway Family YMCA – Rahway Branch.
The CDC suggests these basic lifestyle and safety changes to help reduce risk and 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:
o Removing clutter & tripping hazards.
o Putting railings on all stairs & adding grab bars in the bathroom.
o Installing proper lighting, especially on stairs.
The Gateway Family YMCA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, health and community service organization of caring staff and volunteers dedicated to strengthening the foundations of community and stands For Youth Development, For Healthy Living and For Social Responsibility. The Gateway Family YMCA impacts the community by providing quality services to people of all ages, races, faith or incomes. The Y doesn’t just strengthen bodies – it strengthens people, families and communities.
To learn more about The Gateway Family YMCA’s Healthy Living programs, please visit www.tgfymca.org or contact the Elizabeth Branch at 908-355-9622, Five Points Branch 908-688-9622, Rahway Branch 732-388-0057, Wellness Center Branch 908-349-9622 or WISE Center YMCA Branch 908-687-2995.
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