NEKCOA Highlights September as Falls Awareness Month

Staff Writer

St. Johnsbury, VT – According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults. One out of four Americans aged 65 and over falls every year.
To continually draw awareness to fall prevention and highlight that September is National Falls Prevention Awareness Month, the Northeast Kingdom Council on Aging (NEKCOA) offers several free programs for falls prevention throughout the Northeast Kingdom all year long. They include Tai Chi, line dancing, RVSVP Bone Builders, the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program (AFEP), and the award-winning falls prevention program A Matter of Balance. Due to COVID-19, please call the helpline to confirm the logistics for each class, as they all have separate requirements in response to the State of VT health guidelines. Some have moved to online classes. The helpline is (800) 642-5119.

Karen Budde, the RSVP Volunteer Coordinator, has a keen focus on fall prevention. 

“There are good falls – like falling in love. Fall follows summer. Leaves fall from trees. Clocks fall an hour. And, then there are bad falls – falling out of bed or falling to the floor. You can prevent falls by taking personal responsibility. After falling write down all the details you can remember like where you fell and at what time of the day. It is important to uncover patterns – was it darker in that part of the house? Were you hungry? Had you had enough water during the day? Did a carpet catch? Was a pet underfoot? Were you reaching high up or down low for your favorite food items? You can begin to fall proof your home by adding additional light, eating more small meals during the day, setting a timer to remember to drink some water, turning your favorite throw rug into a piece of art to hang on the wall, putting a bell on Figaro or Fido, and rearranging the cupboards. You can make your home safer.”
To strengthen your lower limbs, add flexibility to your joints, and gain balance strength consider wellness activities like water exercise, Tai Chi, strength training, walking, and Kegel exercises. The NEK Council on Aging’ wellness volunteers offer a variety of classes in many locations around the Kingdom. Call Karen Budde at (802) 751-0431 to learn more about classes that may be resuming in your area or about online classes.