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For Your HealthBY KARLA FALES, CEO, CareWell Services Southwest– at least the season that includes sweatshirts, bonfires, and family celebrations. There’s another “fall” season though and this one stretches out over the entire year. I’m talking about the risk of falling among older adults.a hospital. She broke her femur, hada pretty nasty head injury and broken ribs. The injury has further limited her mobility, especially since it was the second fall and second leg fracture she has experienced. She is working hardat regaining some of her strength and ability to walk without a walker, but itis a significant physical and emotional setback for her. The emotional aspects of recovery may be even more difficult, as she has had to limit her social activities with friends, family and her church. This lack of social connection, the pain that accompanies recovery, and the grief at the loss of mobility and independence can result in depression for many seniors.Evidenced-based programs like Matter of Balance and Tai Chi can help older adults gain strength, improve balance and increase their confidence. Matter of Balance is an eight-session class that teaches participants about what can interfere with their balance and what simple exercises they can do at hometo gain strength. In Michigan, morethan 6,300 older adults have completed the program. Mary Peterson, a Matterof Balance trainer, shares, “One of the primary outcomes of the program is an increased level of confidence that then allows them to be more active following the program.”Did you know that falls are the leading cause of fatal injury for older adults Michigan? In fact, one out of four people age 65 and older fall each year. In Michigan more than 800 people a year die because of a fall and more than 16,000 seniors are hospitalized from fall-related injuries. And even more concerning than the potential for lost life is the injury that a non-fatalfall can cause: Traumatic brain injuries, stroke, physical impairment and loss of mobility may be the outcome of a fall. And it can happen to anyone, at any time. In June, my husband and in-laws began a trip to Missouri for a much anticipated family reunion. While at a rest stop in Illinois, my mother in law experienced a significant fall causedFalls also carry a high cost financially. More than $50 billion a year in medical costs are related to fall. These costs do not account for the long-term effects of injuries sustained by falling, including disability, dependence on others and lost time from work and household duties.Matter of Balance will be offering this program in Battle Creek later this fall. If you would like more information or to sign up for the program, contact Shannon at CareWell Services by calling (269) 441-0930.Changing leaves. Cooler temperatures. The start of the autumn celebrations. Sweatshirts, bonfires, family gatherings! Fall is my favorite seasonby complication of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. I was standing right next to her, she was hanging on to my arm, and we were practicing safe maneuvering – and yet she still fell. The outcome was more than a week of vacation spent inare more susceptible and need to take proactive steps to reduce their risk. There are a number of intervention designedto reduce the risk of falls significantly. Experts recommend a physical activity regimen with balance, strength training and flexibility components; consulting with a health professional about getting a fall risk assessment; having medications reviewed periodically; getting eyes and hearing checked annually; and making sure the home environment is safe and supportive.It’s “Fall” SeasonWhile we tend to think of falls as something that happens when we are careless or because of advanced age, we are all at risk. Seniors, however,HEALTH ISSUE I SCENE 4409 23

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