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Monday, June 27, 2022

Free Fall Safety Prevention Program For Seniors

With over 20,000 admissions every year, falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations in Washington state, and seniors account for over two thirds of these cases. To help prevent these painful and costly events, King County Emergency Medical Services is offering free home safety assistance.

Called One Step Ahead, the service is available for residents 65 years and older who are at highest risk for falls and live in King County outside of the City of Seattle. It includes:

• a home safety walk through
• education about staying safe in your home
• information about local resources
• installation of fall safety devices for low income residents who qualify

“One Step Ahead provides a great opportunity for older adults in our community to reduce their fall risks, avoid injury and keep their independence longer,” said King County Emergency Medical Services Director Jim Fogarty.

Ways to stay steady

Alan Abe, Injury Prevention Program Manager for King County Emergency Medical Services, offers these four key tips for seniors to reduce their risk of falls:

• Do exercises that improve mobility, strength and balance and that are taught by trained professionals. Examples of exercise programs include Tai Chi, Matter of Balance, Enhanced Fitness or other individual or group exercise programs. King County Emergency Medical Services helps sponsor exercise classes at several local senior centers.

• Have your medication reviewed to identify possible side effects or drug interactions that may contribute to falls.

• Have your eyes examined by an optometrist or ophthalmologist.

• Improve your home environment, such as providing proper access to bathtub or showers, sufficient lighting, clear walkways and installing handrails.

Key statistics

• Each year in the United States, nearly one-third of older adults (65 year or older) experience a fall.

• One in five older adults report having fallen in the previous three months.

• About one out of ten falls among older adults result in a serious injury, such as a hip fracture or head injury that requires hospitalization.

• In 2010, adults age 65 and older had over two thirds of the hospitalized falls in Washington state and 83% of fall-related deaths.

For more information about the One Step Ahead fall prevention program and how to qualify, please call (206) 263-8544.

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