In observance of Falls Prevention Week, South County Fire invites older adults and their families to a free Senior Stroll and Pancake Breakfast with firefighters on Thursday, Sept. 26, at Lynnwood Civic Center Fire Station 15, 18800 44th Ave. W.
Breakfast will be served from 10 a.m. to noon. Guests will have the option to join firefighters for a short stroll before or after breakfast. These Senior Strolls will begin at 9:45 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. To attend the event, RSVP to CommunityOutreach@southsnofire.org or 425-320-5800.
Falls top the list of 911 calls for older adults in South Snohomish County. Firefighters here responded to 1,845 falls calls last year. Most falls occur at home and most are preventable. South County Fire offers home visits for older adults and their family members to identify ways to improve safety. To schedule a home visit or learn more about South County Fire’s falls prevention services, email falls@southsnofire or call 425-551-1266.
Four steps to prevent falls
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these steps to prevent falls and decrease risks for older adults:
1. Talk openly with your health care provider about fall risks and prevention. Tell a provider right away if you fall, worry about falling or feel unsteady. Have your doctor or pharmacist review all the medicines you take, even over-the-counter medicines. As you get older, the way medicines work in your body can change. Some medicines or combinations of medicines can make you sleepy or dizzy and can cause you to fall.
2. Exercise to improve your balance and strength. Exercises that improve balance and strengthen your legs can lower your chances of falling. Lack of exercise leads to weakness and increases your chances of falling. Ask your doctor or healthcare provider about the best type of exercise program for you.
3. Have your eyes and feet checked. Once a year, check with your eye doctor and update your eyeglasses if needed. Poor vision can increase your chances of falling. Also, have your health care provider check your feet once a year. Discuss proper footwear and ask whether seeing a foot specialist is advised.
4. Make your home safer:
- Remove things you can trip over (like papers, books, clothes and shoes) from stairs and places where you walk.
- Remove small throw rugs or use double-sided tape to keep the rugs from slipping.
- Keep items you use often in cabinets you can reach easily without using a step stool.
- Have grab bars put in next to and inside the tub and next to the toilet.
- Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors.
- Improve the lighting in your home. As you get older, you need brighter lights to see well. Hang lightweight curtains or shades to reduce glare.
- Have handrails and lights installed on all staircases.
- Wear well-fitting shoes with good support inside and outside the house.