Fall Prevention – Standing Strong Together

By District Fire Chief Todd Draizin

This month marks the 10th anniversary of Fall Prevention Awareness Month, by the National Council on Aging (NCOA). 

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), one in three adults age 65 and older falls each year. These falls can result in severe injuries, such as hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries, which can lead to drastic lifestyle changes, decreased quality of life, and can even be fatal.

However, most falls are actually preventable. One of the first steps in preventing falls is to recognize that falling is not an inevitable part of aging, and to then adopt strategies that will make falls less likely:

Stay active. Lack of exercise results in diminished muscle tone and bone density, whereas physical activity can maintain and even increase strength and balance.

Review your medications with your doctor, as they may have side effects and interactions that could make you dizzy and more susceptible to a fall.

Do a home safety check to identify and correct common hazards like loose rugs, cluttered walkways, and insufficient lighting.

Maintain your health. Chronic diseases can force seniors to give up their independence if not kept in check. Monitoring blood pressure, blood sugar levels and other illnesses that can cause dizziness will help prevent falls. 

Certain activities and programs have been proven to reduce the incidence of falling in older adults. The ancient Chinese practice of Tai Chi uses slow gentle movements to strengthen the body while focusing the mind. According to Dr. Peter Wayne, research director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Tai Chi has been shown to reduce falls in seniors by up to 45%. It can also improve balance in those with a neurological condition such as Parkinson’s disease, as reported in The New England Journal of Medicine. 

Various fall-prevention classes have emerged that use an integrated approach to fortify older adults both physically and mentally against falls. One such program – A Matter of Balance (MOB) – is offered through the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) of Broward. Adapted for lay-leader instructors from the original model used at Boston University, this eight-week program not only teaches participants moderate exercises to enhance strength and balance, it also trains them to restructure negative, fearful thoughts about falling into positive and empowering beliefs. Upon completion of the MOB course, participants report a higher level of confidence in their ability to determine much of their own future health and activity level, as well as a stronger commitment to continued exercise.

  • For more information, please contact District Chief Todd Draizin at Weston Fire Station #81 at
    954-389-2015 or by email at [email protected].