Falls are a major concern to the older adults in this country and in our community. Falls lead to many hospitalizations and deaths every year. That’s why it is up to everyone including older adults, caregivers, family members and health care professionals in to raise awareness to prevent falls among older adults.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an older adult in the U.S. is treated in the ER for a fall-related injury every 14 seconds and dies from a fall-related injury every 29 minutes. Additionally, falls put an immense strain on the health care system, with the financial toll expected to reach $67.7 billion by 2020. The good news is falls are preventable, and the first step to prevention is understanding risk. With a focus on healthy aging, the Y is committed to helping older adults learn their fall risk and access programs that can help them reduce their risk for falls.

Falling and fear of falling may can prevent older adults from staying active, which leads to reduced mobility, diminished quality of life and actually increases their risk of falling. The good news is that falls are highly preventable and help is available for older adults and their families who want to get active but don’t know how.

As a leading community-based organization dedicated to improving the nation’s health for all families, the YMCA encourages older adults to learn their risk for falls by taking a fall risk test at http://www.ymca.net/health-wb-fitness/. If you are at risk for falling the McPherson Family YMCA has many workout options available to improve strength, balance, and endurance.

The CDC suggests these basic lifestyle and safety changes to help reduce risk or prevent falls:

— Begin an exercise program to improve your leg strength & balance.

— Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines.

— Get annual eye check-ups & update your eyeglasses. 

Tyler Glidden is the wellness director for the McPherson Family YMCA.