Living in New England my entire life I have had the pleasure of enjoying the change of seasons. Especially in the fall, when the air is a bit cooler, the humidity is low, and the trees change to a beautiful backdrop of brilliant colors of yellow, orange, and red.
Fall is the time when we enjoy visiting the orchards, hiking through colorful trails, and leaf-peeping throughout the region. These are all activities that keep us well and make us feel great! The seasonal practice of being outside, walking, eating fresh apples off the tree, and socializing with others keep the mind, body, and spirit healthy and energized.
Fall is also a time of year that reminds us to prevent falls. Fall awareness is another important part of our health. There are programs and practices that are available to help, such as:
- STEADI by the CDC: This link has information for older adults, caregivers, and health care providers https://www.cdc.gov/steadi/index.html
- Matter of Balance Programs: Check with your local Council on Aging or Senior Center for this evidence-based program that helps keep you balanced. The Nation Council on Aging (NCOA) also has a website to help older adults with fall prevention https://www.ncoa.org/older-adults/health/prevention/falls-prevention
- Exercise and Physical Activity: The National Institute of Health (NIH) has a website with many options for exercise. Exercise can be started and continued throughout life, there are no age limits!https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/exercise-physical-activity
- Medication Reviews: Check your medications with your pharmacist or health care provider and ask if you are taking any medications that can increase your risk of falls. The American Society of Consultant Pharmacists also has a directory of board-certified geriatric pharmacists in your state. https://www.ascp.com/page/custom_directory
- Evaluate and reduce the fear of falling: Fear of falling can keep you from doing things you enjoy. If you are fearful of falling speak with your health care providers, speaking with a counselor may help reduce your fear and keep you active.
- Avoid haste and rushing: So often people will begin their falling story that they were in a rush or rushing to get to something. Haste makes waste and can increase the risk of falls. Take your time and stay focused to prevent a hasty fall from happening.
- Learn how to get up if you fall: Get in the habit of carrying a phone around with you so that you can call someone for help. If you do fall trying to get up can be helpful. Check the following website, check with your health care providers for training, and work with a physical therapist to “train to get up” in case you do fall. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/abl3081
Stay Wise and Well (and upright!) during fall and enjoy the scenery! Remember to use the templates and check-in weekly for information on medications, deprescribing, and staying Wise & Well.