I have been talking with a lot of groups and individuals about ways to prevent falls. Falls come out of nowhere most of the time. You don’t even think about them until they happen.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, there are over 2.8 million older adults seen in the emergency department for falls every year! Yes, 2.8 million!!! And these are not always the obvious people who can just look at and tell they could easily fall. Many would consider themselves health, active, and not at risk.
You CAN determine your risks and take action now to lower them.
So, how do you determine if you have this falls risk?
The Center for Disease Control tackled that question and developed the Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries. They created a toolkit with several resources. Some of the resources are for your doctor or other healthcare provider. Others are for YOU to help find and minimize your personal risks.
You can find access to these tools on our Meds MASH website. Or you can follow this link: https://www.cdc.gov/steadi/patient.html. You will find information about falls, how often they happen, and many of the risk factors. You will also find tools to help you assess yourself and your home.
I especially encourage you to complete the Check for Safety checklist. It has you walk room to room through your house looking for specific risk factors. It also has several tips to help you avoid falls.
Next, I encourage you to complete the Stay Independent checklist. This will ask you a series of 12 questions. You will answer each with a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’. Then, take this list with you to your next doctor’s appointment. This will help you to have a very focused talk with your doctor about ways to minimize your falls risk.
Finally, read the What You Can Do to Prevent Falls brochure. This will give you even more tips to help you avoid a fall.
What can you do to lower your falls risk?
There are four different assessments in the toolkit that your doctor can use to better understand how to help you decrease your risks. One of these you can do yourself.
It is called a Chair Rise Exercise. It can help you gain strength in your thighs and buttocks. This will help you be more stable when you walk. Here are the instructions from the CDC STEADI guide:
How to do it:
- Sit toward the front of a sturdy chair with your knees bent & feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
- Rest your hands lightly on the seat on either side of you, keeping your back & neck straight & chest slightly forward.
- Breathe in slowly. Lean forward & feel your weight on the front of your feet.
- Breathe out & slowly stand up, using your hands as little as possible.
- Pause for a full breath in & out.
- Breathe in as you slowly sit down. Do not let yourself collapse back down into the chair. Rather, control your lowering as much as possible.
- Breathe out.
What about medications?
There are so many medications that can increase your risk for falls. That’s one of our specialties at Meds MASH. We can take a thorough look at all of your prescribed medicines, your over-the-counter medicines, your vitamins, your herbal medicines, and any other substances. Even the doses you take, your kidney function, and your liver function will be assessed. We will also look at the timing of your medicines and your diet. All of these things work together to impact your falls risk.
For more information contact us at www.medsmash.com and 410-472-5078.
One of the best ways to avoid falls is to know your risks and take steps to minimize them. You need to do some work, and usually get some professional input, to fully analyze those risks. Then, it takes personal motivation to do the exercises, change the shoes, use the assistive device, or work with your healthcare team to make the medication changes to lower your risks.
What are your risks to fall off the path of Christ? I’m thinking of the parable of the seeds found in Matthew 13.
Matthew 13:8 NLT
Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!
How do we avoid the thorns, the rocks, the birds, the hot sun, and the shallow soil that kept the other seeds from growing?
Jesus explains the parable later in the chapter.
Matthew 13:23 NLT
The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!
God’s Word and the value of our studying, understanding, and applying it are found throughout the Bible. It is throughout the Hebrew Bible, Proverbs, Psalms, and throughout the New Testament.
2 Timothy 3:16 ESV
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
Proverbs 4:20-22 ESV
My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.
Isaiah 40:8 ESV
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.
Psalm 119:105 ESV
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
John 14:21 MSG
“The person who knows my commandments and keeps them, that’s who loves me. And the person who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and make myself plain to him.”
What is your grasp of the Word of God? If that is the key to ‘letting our seed grow’, what is your growing potential? I know I have rocks and thorns and birds that try to snatch my seeds away in my life.
It takes motivation and discipline to stay in God’s Word on a regular basis. It takes discussion and study with others to really understand it from varying perspectives. And, it takes talking about it with other people to apply it.
People, instructors, pastors, mature Christians can help you gain the self-insight needed to really determine where your stumbling blocks are. Sharing and accountability help us stay focused and commit to the spiritual exercise, assistive devices, and work required to maintain ‘fertile soil.’
Psalm 1:1-3 ESV
Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
Image source: National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services