NEW YORK, Sept. 22, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The not-for-profit Visiting Nurse Service of New York and many organizations throughout New York State and the U.S. will recognize National Falls Prevention Day (September 23rd) this year during Falls Prevention Week (September 21-27).
According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for seniors—70% of these falls occur in the home. Additionally, every 15 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall, which can often begin a downward spiral of related and serious health issues.
"Our nurses and physical therapists working with people in their homes always encourage their older patients to talk with their doctor about their risk for falling," says Joseph Gallagher, a licensed physical therapist with the not-for-profit Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY). "Doctors are often an important first checkpoint for falls prevention. Asking about an individual's history of falling, and observing him or her doing specific in-office activities, such as getting up from a chair and walking steadily, helps identify higher-than-average risk."
VNSNY encourages individuals to follow these guidelines to help prevent falls:
- Staying Safe at Home—use home safety assessment checklists to review rooms and outdoor areas; remove floor clutter; tape down rugs/cords; arrange furniture to widen pathways; keep commonly used items within reach; don't use step stools; fix uneven surfaces.
- Staying Safe On the Go—wear sturdy shoes; use handrails on stairs; avoid wet floors; be sure all furniture is stable; check for adequate lighting; consider safety items such as grab bars, raised toilet seats, non-skid tub mats and carry a cell for easy access, especially if you live alone.
- Balance, Strength and Mobility—work on strength and balance with light exercise programs, weight training, walking, yoga, and hobbies like dancing and gardening; talk with a health professional before beginning physical activities.
- Multiple Medications—review all medications, both over-the-counter and prescription drugs, with your doctor and pharmacist; always carry a list of your medications; do not share or "borrow" medications; know common side effects for drugs; remember to take medications as described.
- Know Your PERSONAL Risk Factors—weakness in the legs, history of falling, vision problems, cognitive impairment, dizziness, urinary incontinence, being over age 80, walking and balance problems.
For more information visit www.VNSNY.org or call 1-800-675-0391.
About Visiting Nurse Service of New York
Founded in 1893, the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY) is the largest not-for-profit home- and community-based health care organization in the United States, serving the five boroughs of New York City and Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties, as well as parts of upstate New York. VNSNY focuses on promoting the health and well-being of patients and families by providing high-quality, cost-effective health care to vulnerable individuals in their homes and communities. On any given day, VNSNY has approximately 65,000 patients and health plan members under our direct and coordinated care.
SOURCE Visiting Nurse Service of New York