Senior fall injuries are serious and deadly. One senior will be taken to the ER every hour — for injuries from a fall. Many of these patients will die or never return home to resume a normal life. The pity is that most falls are preventable.

As we age we lose muscle strength, reaction time is much slower, and balance is compromised. Seniors must take personal responsibility for our own safety.

Broken hips may set off heart attacks and strokes. Preventing a fall prevents a host of subsequent injuries, so there are big reasons to get serious and prevent falls.

What can you do to be proactive?

  • Review your medications. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about over-the-counter drugs and supplements too — medications can cause dizziness.
  • Maintain good vision. This helps with balance and safety. Have your eyes checked at least yearly.
  • Balance and strength are essential. Plan exercise activities and do simple movements every day: walk, garden, yoga, swim, dance, Tai Chi.
  • Make your home safer. Things underfoot cause us to trip and fall. Remove fall hazards by keeping pathways open and free of objects.

For further information call the Department of Health Injury Prevention Program in Honolulu at 808-733-9202. Or go to www.nogethurt.Hawai‘ for educational videos, home safety checklist and a listing of tai chi classes and fall prevention services near you.