When was the last time you fell? What about your friends, family, or neighbors? It’s likely that you or someone you are close to has experienced a fall that's led to injury.
Each year, it’s estimated that one out of three Americans aged 65 or older will suffer a fall.
September 22 is National Falls Prevention Awareness Day. The YMCA of Middle Tennessee is joining the National Council on Aging and the Falls Free Coalition for 10 Years Standing Together to Prevent Falls, a day to raise awareness and deliver education.
“Older adults are valuable members of our families and communities, and falling and fear of falling may cause them to limit their activities, which leads to reduced mobility, diminished quality of life and actually increases their risk of falling,” says Brooke Brandon, director of SilverSneakers and Silver & Fit for the YMCA of Middle Tennessee.
Understand the risk
The first step to prevention is understanding risk. With a focus on healthy aging, the Y of Middle Tennessee—which serves more than 35,000 seniors in our region—is committed to helping older adults both learn their fall risk and access classes that can help them reduce it. A good place to start is a risk assessment.
Make basic changes
Wherever you score on the scale, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these basic lifestyle and safety changes to help reduce risk:
Find balance with the Y
The Y is here to help you stay steady! Many of our classes offer balance and muscle strengthening work for members to grow firmer on their feet.
"The more balance they have and the stronger their muscles are—especially those core muscles—the easier it is for them to manage uneven terrain while walking," Brandon says.
Widely offered group exercise classes like yoga and Pilates are gentle on the body and great for maintaining flexibility and balance. Silver Sneakers classes (designed specifically for seniors) and offerings like Tai Chi help Y members of any age stay steady on their feet. Search our class finder for senior-friendly options.