Fire District 1 takes a stand to prevent falls

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Fire District 1 Community Resource Specialist Kristen Thorstenson works with Anne-Marie Sykes to assess fall risks and improve safety in the Edmonds home she shares with husband Frank. (Photo courtesy of Snohomish County Fire District 1)
Fire District 1 Community Resource Specialist Kristen Thorstenson works with Anne-Marie Sykes to assess fall risks and improve safety in the Edmonds home she shares with husband Frank. (Photo courtesy of Snohomish County Fire District 1)

 

Fall is just around the corner, but falls shouldn’t be just around the corner for older adults.

That’s why Snohomish County Fire District 1 is launching a new program on Sept. 23, the first day of fall and Falls Prevention Awareness Day.

While falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injury for people 65 years of age and older, they are not an inevitable part of aging. This year’s Fall Prevention Awareness Day theme, Take a Stand to Prevent Falls, seeks to raise awareness about how to prevent fall-related injury among older adults.

“We responded to about 1,000 injury calls to 911 for falls in the past year,” said Capt. Shaughn Maxwell, head of Fire District 1’s Emergency Medical Services Division. “Falls are a major threat to the health and independence of people age 65 and older. Nearly one-third of older adults experience a fall and the results can often be a life-changing loss of mobility and independence. We’ve launched a new program to focus on prevention.”

Patients who have fallen or are at-risk of falling can be referred to Fire District 1 Community Resource Specialist Kristen Thorstenson for follow up with prevention information, assistance in accessing social services or a home visit for a falls risk assessment and safety survey.

Studies show that a combination of behavior changes can significantly reduce falls among older adults. Experts recommend:

  • Participating in 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 ears checked annually.
  • Making sure the home environment is safe and supportive.

For more information on falls prevention visit Fire District 1’s website, www.firedistrict1.org.

 

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