Aging Well September 18th 2012

Saturday, September 22nd, is the first day of fall – when you pull the sweaters out of the drawer, turn the heat on in the mornings, and start thinking about Flu Shots (which will be available at the Center from 10:00 – 12:30 on Tuesday the 25th provided by Rite Aid Pharmacy.)

But the first day of fall is also Fall Prevention Awareness Day reminding everyone that one in three older Americans fall every year; falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people over 65; and most importantly, falls are preventable.

There are many factors that lead to falls including balance: loss of flexibility and coordination; vision – contrasting edges and obstacles are harder to see; medications – interaction between drugs; chronic conditions – causing inactivity and loss of functions. And there is one more factor: environmental conditions, particularly the place where 55% of all falls occur – your home.

Here is the quick and easy version of the checklist identifying home hazards for falls distributed by the Center for Disease Control. But if you want a more professional analysis, you can call “Hearts of Gold Caregivers” and they would be glad to do an in-home assessment.

Check the floors in your home. Do you have to walk around the furniture? Do you have throw rugs? Are there books, papers, clothes on the floor? Do you have to walk over wires or extension cords? Then look at your stairs. Are there objects on the stairs? Are the steps uneven or broken? Do you have only one light switch for the stairs? Are the handrails securely attached and on both sides of the stairs? Now check the kitchen. Are there items you use on high shelves? Is your step stool unsteady (and don’t tell me you use a chair!) Bathrooms are next: Is the tub or shower floor slippery? And if you installed grab bars, are they securely fastened to the wall? And finally, the bedroom. Is your bed light hard to reach? Is the path from your bedroom to the bathroom dark?

These are common sense questions; most requiring only simple modifications. But the real culprit may be thinking it won’t happen to you, or if you do fall, you won’t get hurt. But trust me, it can happen, you can get hurt, and it is not fun. It is not enough to know what you need to do – you actually have to make the changes. Since my fall I have made adjustments: I am much more careful and most importantly, my wife now takes out the recycling – but I don’t know how much longer I can get away with that.

I was going to mention the Center’s new class, “Brunch for the Brain” but then I remembered – I told you about it last week. So if you are like me and can’t remember what you read (or wrote) last week, join us for “Brunch for the Brain” on Mondays and Thursdays at 1:00 starting on the 24th.

Duane Francis, CEO of Mid-Columbia Medical Center, will be the presenter for the Tuesday Lecture at 11:00 on the 25th. The health care industry is going through significant changes and this will be your chance to find out how MCMC is adapting.

A good way to avoid falls is to keep moving – and what better way than dancing with a friend in your arms. Tonight at the Center, Truman is singing his Country Gold and next Tuesday, the Center adds new performer to the Tuesday Night lineup: Annie Lane. The music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated.

The name for the seven individuals who were charged with conspiracy and inciting to riot at the 1968 Democratic Convention was the Chicago Seven – or Eight if you count Bobby Seale. (And although Joann Scott was there while attending school and learned to run really fast when she went to see what was going on, the winner, randomly selected, of a free Baby Back Rib Dinner on Friday October 5th is Bob Haechrel). And this week it’s time to remember the world of music in the 1950’s. And you couldn’t get much bigger than Elvis Presley. After recording for Sun Records, Elvis signed a new contract with RCA negotiated by the person who would later be his manager for two decades. What was his name? Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a picture of Andreas Cornelis (“Dries”) van Kuijk.

Well, it has been another week, trying to find the right balance. Until we meet again, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Comment your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.