by Christina C. Swallows, UT Extension Agent
According to CDC, approximately $50 billion is spent annually on non-fatal fall injuries and that amount is roughly $754 million for related fatal falls. In Tennessee, the total cost is $885 million with an out-of-pocket cost ranging around $121 million. https://www.cdc.gov/falls/data/fall-cost.html. This cost is not including costs associated with disability, dependence on others, loss of time from work and home chores and the reduction of quality of life.
As we age, we can expect the number of falls to increase. In 2018, 30% of the population age 65 and older experienced a fall that was reported. Data shows that one out of five falls result in serious injuries like head injury or broken bones. https://www.cdc.gov/falls/facts.html CDC also reports other alarming facts, “Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries” and 95% of hip fractures are the result of falls.
What are the conditions that make someone more likely to fall you may ask? Research shows body weakness, lack of vitamin D, balance and walking problems, limited vision, foot pain or poor footwear, taking some medicines like sedatives, antidepressants or tranquilizers as well as some meds over-the-counter, as well as, home hazards like throw rugs, cords, uneven steps.
Many older adults experience concerns about falling and restrict their activities. A Matter of Balance is an award-winning program designed to manage falls and increase activity levels. This class will be taught locally at the Livingston Senior Citizens Center and virtually on Zoom by trained instructors, Su Ling Yaun Bournival and County Extension Director Christina Swallows.
In these classes you will learn to view falls as controllable, set goals for increasing activity, make changes to reduce fall risks at home, exercise to increase strength and balance and more. Classes are designed for persons concerned about falls and anyone interested in improving balance, flexibility and strength. Who else will benefit from this program? Persons who have fallen in the past and those who have restricted activities because of falling concerns.
You have two ways to attend this training. The first is face to face at the Livingston Senior Citizens Center. You do not need to be a member of the center to attend these classes- they are open to all persons. Register by calling the Senior Citizens Center at 823-1268 and talk to Betty or complete the registration online at https://forms.gle/56QEp5YKATjpViLe7. The sessions will be held on Monday and Wednesdays from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.. Plan to attend all eight session on October 25 and 27; November 1, 3, 8, 10, 15, and 17.
The second option is to join us online through zoom. Register for the online class at: https://tiny.utk.edu/Qke1C. The sessions will be held on Monday and Wednesdays from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. There are nine scheduled session on October 25 and 27; November 1, 3, 8, 10, 15, 17 and 22. A zoom link will be emailed out to registered persons. Contact Christina Swallows, [email protected] or (931) 823-2735 with your questions on either of these sessions.
Avoid being one in the fall statistics by improving your balance and learning how to plan and avoid falls when you attend the Matter of Balance sessions.