Public Health: Preventing falls as we head into fall and winter

Sarah Sandau

Photo provided

As we head into fall and winter, the leaves start to change, the smell of hot chocolate and apple cider appears, and everyone starts to pull out those winter coats and sweaters. Along with the cozy feeling of fall comes the fear for many residents about staying active during the long months of winter. Winter brings colder temperatures, icy surfaces and less lighting, all of which increase the risk of falling.

According to the Behavioral Risk Factor Survey, nearly 1 in 3 Montanans aged 65 or older report falling at least once in the last 12 months. Over 1,900 Montanans were hospitalized due to unintentional falls in 2021. Of those hospitalized, 74% were 65 years or older according to the Montana Hospital Discharge Dataset.

Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries in older adults. Falls are costly-in dollars and in quality of life.

Falling is NOT a normal part of aging and most falls can be prevented by making lifestyle modifications. The question rests, what can we do to decrease our risks of falls to

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