SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (Good Things Utah) – Optum Utah stopped by Good Things Utah to provide some quick facts about falls and injury prevention:

• Falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths among seniors nationwide
• For older adults, falls post significant health concerns, from broken bones to a possible loss of long-term independence
• But there are tips to lessen your risk of falling, along with steps to take if you do fall

Every year, more than 3 million American seniors need emergency treatment as a result of fall. Falls, in fact, are the leading cause of injury-related death for older adults.

Falling poses health risks for everyone, but older adults especially are at a higher risk of broken bones, head injuries, and even the possible loss of long-term independence.

Physical injuries are the most immediate risk associated with falling, but even if you aren’t injured, you can suffer emotional and mental consequences. If you fall once, you can develop a fear of falling again. This can lead you to withdraw from your normal, everyday activities, which can lead to physical weakening… which can increase your likelihood of falling again.

Can I prevent a fall?
Like most matters connected to our health, you can’t completely prevent the possibility of experiencing a fall. But, according to health experts at Optum, there are steps you can take to decrease your risk, including:
Pay attention to your feet. Shoes with non-skid soles can decrease your risk of falling. And don’t walk on stairs wearing only socks
Check your eyes. Vision problems can contribute to the likelihood of falling. That’s another reason it’s important to keep up with annual eye exams, and to make sure you prescriptions are up to date.
Be mindful of how medication affects you. Certain medications, like sedatives, antidepressants, and many common over-the-counter drugs, can affect your balance. If you regularly take any medicine that makes you feel dizzy or just unsure on your feet, talk to your doctor
Stay active. One of the most important ways to protect our health as we get older is to remain physically active. Older adults, in fact, should get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every week. Incorporating things like strength training and exercises that focus on your balance are great additions to your normal exercise routine, and they can decrease your likelihood of falling, too.

To help you stay active as you get older, Optum has three Community Centers throughout the region, in Sandy, Layton, and West Valley, open and available to all adults ages 55 and older, at no cost and with no registration required. Along with a variety of social activities, the Community Centers host fitness classes, taught by experts in their fields. Many of the classes can help you work on your balance and strength, too. You can find locations and class schedules at

After a fall: Steps to take
If you do experience a fall, the first thing to do is: Take a few deep breaths, and try to relax. Don’t try to get up too quickly, before you know if you’re injured. Moving too suddenly after an injury can make the injury worse.

If you’re able to safely get up, slowly get to your hands and knees and crawl to a sturdy seat or chair. With one knee raised and the other still on the floor, rise to a kneeling position. Only then should you slowly rise the rest of the way to sit in the chair.
Finally, don’t force yourself: If you can’t easily get up on your own, call 911 and wait for help to arrive.

Learn more about Optum and its services and community care centers onlines by visiting

Sponsored by Optum Utah.