Fall in love but don’t fall down| Coming of Age…Again

Here are a few simple suggestions to help find the right balance to keep safe.

  • Tuesday, February 11, 2020 8:30am
  • Opinion

By Kathy Iverson

Kirkland Senior Council

As we age, the one event that is most likely to keep us from enjoying life is falling.

Each year, 25 percent of older adults are at risk of falling and those who have experienced one fall are three times more likely to have more. In fact, every 11 seconds, an older adult goes to an emergency room to receive treatment from a fall injury, according to the National Council on Aging. A fall can often start the ball rolling down the slope to dependent living.

What can you do to avoid falling? Here are a few simple suggestions to help find the right balance to keep safe.

Exercise to improve strength and balance reduces the risk of falling. Our city community centers, the YMCA and other local gym facilities offer programs to address strength and balance, such as yoga or tai chi. Many insurance plans have exercise benefit programs that may even include a gym membership in your coverage.

Review all medications (both prescribed and over the counter) with your health care provider or with your pharmacist. Medications can often have side effects that can cause balance issues.

Wear safe shoes. Do not wear flip-flops, worn out shoes or slippers that offer no support.

Have your vision checked. Age-related vision changes affect your mobility. Clouded vision issues more than double the likelihood of falling.

Install handrails. Install handrails on all stairways, even if only two steps.

Secure small rugs. These are hazardous and often increase slipping or tripping.

Install handhold bars and other safety equipment. Install handhold bars in bathrooms including showers, tubs and toilets. Place slip-resistant mats in the tub or shower.

Evaluate your home’s lighting. Bright lights help you see pathways and hazards.

Remove clutter. De-clutter around the spaces you occupy and remember that pets can be a tripping hazard.

Do not carry heavy or awkward loads. Always be cautious and don’t attempt to navigate stairs with objects such as laundry baskets. Also, make sure you keep one hand on the railing for safety.

Depression, loneliness, fear of falling and lack of social connections are all fall risks. Take advantage of community centers for a variety of activities. Transportation assistance is available. Ask your local senior center for assistance. In Kirkland, the Peter Kirk Community Center can assist older adults, helping them find the right programs. Call 425-587-3360.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that death rates from falls among adults 65 and older increased more than 30 percent between 2007 and 2016. We can change this trend!

For exercises to improve balance visit: tinyurl.com/t6hty9j, tinyurl.com/wz8b87q or tinyurl.com/t2oaoc9.

Coming of Age…Again is edited by the Kirkland Senior Council, a group the city of Kirkland created in 2001 to advocate for older adults in our community. The council is made up of people living or working in Kirkland who want to improve and maintain the quality of life for people in Kirkland as they grow older. Membership opens in the fall.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@kirklandreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kirklandreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Opinion

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Editorial: Let’s clear the air on wildfires, climate change

Agreement and commitment is needed to address the causes of wildfires and climate change.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Republican’s write-in campaign highlights post-primary intrigue | Roegner

Can former Bothell mayor beat two Democrats for lieutenant governor post?

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
What does it mean to violate the Hatch Act? | Roegner

The federal law was established in 1939.

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Editorial: State lawmakers shouldn’t wait to start budget work

Making tough choices on cuts and revenue can’t wait until next year and hopes for better news.

Rico Thomas, left, has been a clerk in the Fuel Center/Mini Mart at Safeway in Federal Way for the past 5 years. Kyong Barry, right, has been with Albertsons for 18 years and is a front end supervisor in Auburn. Both are active members of UFCW 21. Courtesy photos
Grocery store workers deserve respect and hazard pay | Guest column

As grocery store workers in King County, we experience the hard, cold… Continue reading

Dr. Adam Rothenber is a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon at EvergreenHealth Orthopedic & Sports Care. Courtesy photo/EvergreenHealth
The ins and outs of joint replacement

By Dr. Adam Rothenberg Special to the Reporter According to the Center… Continue reading

Face masks save lives and jobs across Washington

Wearing a mask saves lives and saves jobs. And all across the… Continue reading

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Editorial: Reopen schools in fall, but do it safely

Don’t bully schools into reopening. Protect our students.

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Editorial: Stopping COVID is now up to each of us

With a resurgence threatening, we need to take greater responsibility to keep the virus in check.

Doreen Davis, left in mask, waves at parade participants on May 2. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo
Wear your face-hugging, ever-loving mask | Editorial

“Don’t make me come down there.” — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo,… Continue reading

Back to the wild — a whole new outdoor recreation world | Guest editorial

When enjoying the great outdoors, continue to socially distance and be aware of how else COVID-19 has changed our world.

We are all in this together | Coming of age…again

How can we, as neighbors, help each other?