As the former Chairman of the New York State Senate Committee on Aging, I was proud to work closely with the Capital District Senior Issues Forum, the Elder Network for the Capital Region and the State Office for the Aging several years ago to create a brochure highlighting safety tips for senior citizens.
These three organizations are great advocates for seniors. Elder Network for the Capital Region is a consortium of health care and service providers while the Capital District Senior Issues Forum is a volunteer group that provides advocacy for seniors ages 85 and above. The State Office for the Aging, and the local offices for the aging in each county, provide information and referrals on programs and services for seniors.
One particular issue that concerns all of us is accidents and falling, and the prevention of falling is emphasized in this new pamphlet. Falls are a significant problem among older people. The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control reports that "falls are a serious public health problem among older adults, and that more than a third of adults aged 65 years or older fall each year ... Older adults are hospitalized for fall-related injuries five times more often than they are for injuries from other causes ... Of those who fall, 20 to 30 percent suffer moderate to severe injuries that reduce mobility and independence, and increase the risk of premature death."
Whether caused by a physical or medical condition, by housekeeping issues, or by problems with home design, falls pose a threat to independence. Fortunately, many falls are preventable. A fall-prevention lifestyle includes exercising, eating a balanced and healthy diet, and using assistive devices around the house. Use common sense such as not running to answer the telephone, use night lights so that you never enter a dark room, and move frequently used items to easy-to-reach shelves.
To obtain a copy of this free brochure and learn more helpful fall prevention tips, please call my office at 455-2181 (Albany), 843-2188 (Amsterdam) or 762-3733 (Johnstown).