Sept. 23 is Fall Prevention Day and for those of us living in a retirement community, falls are sadly a common occurrence and often with dire consequences.

Falls are one of the leading causes of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans, threatening safety and independence. Looking on the bright side, many falls can be prevented through increased awareness about fall risk factors and by adopting healthy behaviors including regular physical activity that improves strength and balance.

The experts at Pima Council on Aging suggest participation in fall prevention education offered right here in Green Valley at the Posada Life Community Center. PCOA’s Matter of Balance class is currently being held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:30 to 3 p.m. through September. The course will be repeated with future dates to be announced. Pre-registration is required. Call the PCOA Health Promotion Department at 520-305-3410.

Safety and Health in Motion (SHiM) is an evidence-based fall prevention program from Valley Assistance Services, the Green Valley Fire District, Green Valley Council and the University of Arizona Colleges of Nursing, Medicine and Public Health. VAS offers free home visits and safety assessments to look for safety hazards that may raise red flags for a fall. An RN can visit your home and review a history of prior falls and help identify health conditions or other factors that increase a fall risk. GVFD Fire Corps volunteers will schedule a visit to your home to look for:

• Lighting in all rooms and stairs

• Trip hazards, electrical and phone cords, household clutter, rugs

• Uneven surfaces inside and outside your home

• Fire safety hazards

VAS is hosting a SHiM fall prevention event on Monday, Sept. 23, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Valley Presbyterian Church in Green Valley. The event is free and open to the public. Lunch is included. Call VAS at 520-625-5966 for information and to register.

Fall prevention tips:

• Vision – Have your eyesight checked yearly. Good lighting is essential for your safety, especially at night.

• SHiM provides fall prevention education and resources for local exercise programs. Begin an exercise program to improve your leg strength and balance.

• Talk openly with your healthcare provider about fall risks and prevention and ask your doctor to review your medications.

• Wear well-fitting shoes inside and outside the house.

• Watch your step around pets and children.

• Learn to use walking aids safely.

Join the University of Arizona Health Sciences Department and Banner University Medicine for their first Fall Prevention Fair on Friday, Sept. 27, from 3 to 5:30 p.m. at the UA’s Health Sciences Innovation Building, 1670 E. Drachman St., Tucson.

The Fall Prevention Fair is set to provide older adults with the tools they need to live happy, healthy lives free from the fear of falling and will feature educational sessions from a variety of university experts, interactive workshops in balance and tai chi, a vendor fair, food and refreshments, and giveaways.

The event is free and open to the public. Please register at https://fallpreventionfair.eventbrite.com

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