August 31, 2023

Move Beyond the Fear of Falling

By Brooke Noonan, Community Health Educator

We like slogans. These are catchy quips that grab us and help us remember something. “Finger lickin’ good” or “Just do it” are just a couple of the phrases that our culture has provided us.

Listening to those older and wiser than me; I have often heard, “If you don’t use it you’ll lose it,” whether applied to a mind-bending puzzle or a heart rate raising walk. I will ask you to consider making this your slogan for the month of September. Why you ask? September is National Fall Prevention Awareness Month and, in an effort, to make ourselves more aware let’s apply the “If you don’t use it you’ll lose it” thought.

Many older adults believe that their aging body is prone to falls and there is little they can do to change this, but nothing could be further from the truth. Using your body to learn fall prevention exercises and increasing physical activity can strengthen the body and improve balance.

If we do not use our body and call upon it to move and function in our various environments, then we can lose those abilities and be more apt to fall. We can use our minds to take inventory of the spaces we live in and remove slippery rugs and loose cords that can become our reason for losing our balance. We can use our humility to be honest with our loved ones and health providers about falls and not lose our confidence to continue to enjoy the activities in life that bring us joy.

The National Institute on Aging shares that having your eyes and hearing tested, getting enough sleep, and wearing supportive footwear are additional strategies. Granite VNA offers a fall prevention program called "A Matter of Balance." This program helps adults view falls and the fear of falling as controllable, change the environment to reduce fall risk factors, and exercise to increase strength and balance. Our next available program is being held on Thursdays beginning October 5 at Huggins Hospital in Wolfeboro. For more information, click here.

In addition, we are holding a National Falls Prevention Awareness Day in collaboration with Concord Hospital at City Wide Community Center in Concord on Thursday, September 21 at 10 a.m. For more information, click here.

Remember “If you don’t use it you’ll lose it” so let’s challenge ourselves to use the resources and strategies available and lose those high rates of falls.