Night may fall, but you don’t have to

By Courtney Midkiff, Meigs Administrator

September 23 is Falls Prevention Day along with the arrival of Fall and shorter days. As it gets dark earlier, now is a good time to brighten up your home. One of the top ways to prevent falls is to make sure that homes are always well-lit. 

As we get older, our vision changes. These changes can lead to challenges navigating in the dark. Poor lighting can hide obstacles or make shadows worse, which can make it harder to safely get around your home. 

The Ohio Department of Aging recommends these tips to brighten up your home:

  • Use the highest wattage bulbs recommended for your fixtures.
  • Invest in compact fluorescent or LED light bulbs, which can produce brighter light using less energy.
  • Keep a flashlight near your bed.
  • Consider replacing traditional lamps with touch-sensitive models that are easier to use in the dark.
  • Install night lights along the path between your bedroom and the bathroom.
  • Increase lighting at the top and bottom of stairs.
  • Replace light switch plates with ones that glow in the dark.
  • Have an electrician install light switches at every doorway to avoid walking across dark rooms to get to the switch.
  • Talk to a lighting specialist at your local home improvement store to pick the best lights for your home. These changes are low cost and are a good investment in preventing falls.
  • Visit www.steadyu.ohio.gov to find more falls prevention tips and resources to make your home a falls free zone.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), three million older adults utilize emergency departments for fall-related injuries. In addition to sharing information like that above, your Meigs County Health Department (MCHD) is partnering with the Washington County Health Department’s (WCHD) Appalachian Ohio Falls Prevention Program (AOFPP) to help prevent fall-related injuries and deaths among older adults in Southeastern Ohio. Your MCHD has committed itsHealth Educator Ciara Martin [who is trained and CPR/automated external defibrillator (AED) certified] to implement the Walking with Ease Program in Meigs County.  This program is endorsed by the Arthritis Foundation, and helps participants learn skills that decrease their chances of falls and decrease the pain associated with arthritis. The Walking with Ease classes/walking groups will begin in October 2019 at the Syracuse Community Center. Your MCHD will use some of the grant funds we receive to purchase an AED for the Syracuse Community Center. 

Other ways this partnership fulfills two of the 10 Essential Public Health Services: mobilize community partnerships and action to identify and solve health problems and to inform, educate and empower people about health issues include: promotion of STEADI, Home Assessments, Tai Chi for Arthritisand Matter of Balance programming among the 65+ year old population; data collection and reporting and participation in theAppalachian Ohio Falls Prevention Coalition as needed. 

For more information about injury prevention, please contact the MCHD at 740-992-6626; visit  www.meigs-health.comhttps://odh.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/odh/know-our-programs/violence-injury-prevention-program/resources/older-adults-falls-prevention-coalition or your MCHD’s Facebook page.