Avoiding trips and falls leads to healthy aging

Older adults can learn to avoid trips and falls plus schedule a mobility assessment through the Douglas County Health Department. This important topic will be discussed on Thursday, June 1st at the Seniors’ Council of Douglas County meeting held at the Douglas County Miller Building, Conference Rooms A&B, in Castle Rock.  The meeting is from 10 – 11:30 am and is free and open to the public.

Clara and Ollie were living a calm retirement when a fall changed their lives.  

Clara was 75 years old and in good health when she tripped on a loose rug, fell, and broke her wrist. The injury required surgery and a cast. The related pain required medication. 

One night, after getting home from the hospital, Clara got up from bed. As she stood,  her head began to swim. Lightheaded from the pain medication, Clara fell again. This time, she hit her head on the bedside table and suffered a fatal brain injury. Ollie was devastated by the loss of his wife, and he died the next year from a broken heart.  

For older adults, a fall can be life-altering.  Each year, nearly 3 million older adults nationwide are treated in emergency departments for injuries sustained during a fall.  Helping Douglas County’s 52,000 adults over age 65 prevent falls is a priority for the new Douglas County Health Department.  

“As we began planning for our new health department, we asked our community what they wanted from public health,” said Michael Hill, director of the Douglas County Health  Department. “Based on community engagement and research, we saw that injury  prevention was one of the top three needs in our community.” 

Healthcare professionals and public health agencies are working together to better understand  what leads to falls, including some of the realities our older adults face, such as: 

  1. Decreased strength, conditioning, and balance
  2. Side effects of medications, both prescribed and over-the-counter 3. Limited vision and hearing
  3. Hazards in/around the home, such as stairs, rug, and uneven sidewalks or floors

What can older adults do? Laura Larson and Dr. Owen Stene, Douglas County Health Department, will discuss the plan to prevent older adults from injury-related falls as well as introduce the new Health Department’s priorities, at the June 1st Seniors’ Council meeting. 

The Douglas County Health Department is committed to providing person-centered care that supports overall health and well-being for older residents. The department is located at 410 S. Wilcox Street, Suite 103, in Castle Rock and can be contacted at 720-643-2400.  

Seniors’ Council of Douglas County serves and advocates for older adults. Information and updates are available at www.douglas.co.us – search for Seniors’ Council. Our signature event for older adults, Vintage & Vibrant, is planned for Saturday, September 28 in Parker.  Details and updates can be found on our website.

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