"Falls Prevention Awareness Day" Falls on First Day of Fall

Categories: Health
Be aware!
"Did you or your readers know," queried the press release,"that more than 1/3 of those age 65 and older fall every year? And that once someone has fallen, they are two to three times more likely to fall again?"

Well? Did you? We did not.

We also did not predict that this was the windup for an ersatz holiday -- National Falls Prevention Awareness Day, which, cleverly, falls on the first day of fall, Sept. 23. Of course it does. This is a production, incidentally, of the Falls Free Coalition. Of course it is.

Going by the statistics quoted at the top of this article -- provided by the Centers for Disease Control, which evidently is doing more than just working on epidemiology -- one of your humble narrator's parents is an odds-on favorite to fall this year. But why should this year be different from other years? 

Throughout my lifetime, an announcement from my father that he was going to change a light bulb or clear out the rain gutters or even work on -- or near -- a window was the prelude to 15 minutes of cursing at the ladder, five minutes of eerie silence, a crash, a scream, and a thud. A vivid childhood memory -- perhaps reinforced via repetition -- was my mother flipping the bird to a slow driver as she pulled around him while transporting my father to the emergency room.

Perhaps the Centers for Disease Control's fall-prevention advice could have come in handy long ago:

1. Begin a regular exercise program

2. Make your home safer

3. Have your healthcare provider review your medicines

4. Have your vision checked

Or perhaps not. Regular exercise involving a stationary bicycle, stairmaster, or other such device would be akin to giving a small child a hair dryer as a bath toy. Cross that off the list. With my father, "make your home safer" would be a Sisyphean task. No plan is foolproof, as fools are so ingenious. So strike that off, too. Item No. 3 is sound advice, but the ibuprofen you took after your last bang-up should not lead to the next one. And, finally, though this study notes that bifocal glasses can actually throw off one's depth perception and lead to terrible accidents even without open manholes in one's path, this isn't a problem for those with perfect vision.

Some people, it seems, are just gifted. For everyone else, do what you can to prevent falls on Falls Prevention Awareness Day on the first day of fall.

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