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

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
City and school board races highlight local elections | Roegner

A record 646 candidates in King County cities have filed for local offices.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
King County Council elections could be more exciting this fall | Roegner

In most King County election races, the incumbent has all of the… Continue reading

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He recently retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and now lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at thebrunells@msn.com.
Rethinking a natural gas ban in Washington state | Brunell

Sometimes being first isn’t good. Such is the case with legislation making… Continue reading

Jayendrina Singha Ray is a PhD (ABD) in English, with a research focus on the works of the South African Nobel Laureate John Maxwell Coetzee. She teaches English Composition and Research Writing at Highline College, WA, and has previously taught English at colleges in India.
Asian women and racial violence in the aftermath of Atlanta | Guest column

In her famous essay “The Laugh of the Medusa,” Hélène Cixous resurrects… Continue reading

Stock photo
The right to vote helps rehumanize incarcerated people | Guest column

By Kim Bogucki, For The Reporter In 2008, I began asking incarcerated… Continue reading

Courtesy image
Thoughts on police reform and public trust | Guest column

By Steven D. Strachan, Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs The… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
A legislative session like no other we’ve seen | Roegner

In even numbered years such as 2020, the legislative session is only… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Time to predict November’s election winners | Roegner

A look at statewide offices in Washington.

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.