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  • Writer's pictureSean Smith

4 Tips to Help You Talk to Older Adults About Preventing Falls

Key Takeaways

  • During Falls Prevention Awareness Week, states and communities are encouraged to raise awareness about the impact of falls and the strategies proven to reduce and prevent them.

  • Talking about falls is one low-cost and highly effective strategy everyone can do during Falls Prevention Awareness Week, helping raise awareness about this important issue.

  • Use these 4 tips when talking to your family member or the person you're caregiving for about falls prevention.

Since 2008, NCOA has hosted Falls Prevention Awareness Week during the first week of autumn in September. As the national public health campaign recognizing the importance of falls prevention, Falls Prevention Awareness Week encourages states and communities to raise awareness about the impact of falls and the various evidence-based strategies proven to reduce and prevent them. Some states and communities observe Falls Prevention Awareness Week by hosting falls prevention events, others organize falls risk screening and health fairs to showcase evidence-based falls prevention programs available in the community. While resources and time are required to host these events, one low-cost and highly effective thing strategy is simply having a discussion about falls.

Ways you can talk about falls with an older adult

Talking is one of the easiest ways to create awareness and spark action. You don’t have to be a falls expert to talk with an older adult and their health care providers about falls prevention. And it also shouldn't deter you from speaking with other family, friends, and neighbors. Falls are serious but talking about them doesn’t have to be.

Use these four tips to talk about falls

  • Be open and kind: Ask questions, share a fact, or share your own experience (here are some falls prevention success stories to also consider).

  • Avoid blame: Nobody is at fault for a fall. Provide solutions that do not make the person feel judged.

  • Be assertive: Show that you care by how you deliver your message. Use “I” statements to let others know how you are thinking and feeling.

  • Listen: Sometimes no solution will make an older adult feel better about falling. Be there and listen to their concerns and give support when they are ready for the next step in reducing falls.

Here are some reasons why you should talk about falls and ways you can start the conversation:

• Enhance Relationships - Falls can be embarrassing and hard to talk about. But talking with others about them shows you care and are a source of support. It also makes future talks about falls easier.

• Ask a question: “Have you or anyone you know had a fall or trip?”• Share a fact: “I was surprised to learn that falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries. Falls are more serious than I thought!”

• Share your experience: “My neighbor fell when he climbed a ladder to change the smoke detector battery. I wish he had called me. I would have been more than happy to help.”

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