Fall Prevention: A Critical Aspect of Post-Retirement Health Management
By Chris Merchant, CFP®
Many of you who are reading this may be more familiar with discussing financial risks with me rather than health risks. However, it is important to recognize that a secure retirement encompasses more than just financial considerations.
As I pen this article, I’m reminded of a valued client who is undergoing surgery today. She sustained a shoulder injury from a fall in her home.
Throughout my career, I’ve witnessed the profound impact that falls can have on the lives of my clients. It isn’t uncommon for me to hear from clients a couple of times a year that they’ve experienced a fall. Some of these individuals have been our clients for numerous years, and I genuinely regard them as more than just clients; they are members of the Hunt Country Wealth Management family. It deeply saddens me to hear of their distress caused by a fall. These incidents often require surgeries and joint replacements which come with lengthy recovery periods. This scenario has occurred frequently enough for me to address it in today’s newsletter.
While I may not be an expert on fall prevention, and I firmly believe in staying within my area of expertise, I do recognize that knowledge is a powerful tool in life. Taking the time to educate yourself on fall prevention can be an invaluable investment.
A simple internet search on “Falls for Retirees” will provide you with a wealth of alarming statistics and accompanying resources to learn more about fall prevention. The truth is that falls aren’t uncommon, and a significant percentage of people will experience them, often resulting in significant consequences. Even individuals in the prime of their retirement years have unexpectedly fallen, leading to surgeries and medical emergencies. These incidents underscore the importance of fall prevention, particularly for retirees and seniors. It’s worth noting that falls can also have psychological impacts. The fear of falling can hinder physical fitness, contribute to social isolation, and even lead to depression among retirees.
Age certainly plays a role, but falling isn’t limited to what we typically consider as seniors. During my early thirties, I had a mishap at my house, specifically with its old-fashioned staircase at the entrance by the front door. While descending the stairs, I slipped and partially tumbled down. Despite my youth, fitness, and overall good health, the incident left me with bruised and potentially fractured ribs. It took a full six weeks for me to make a complete recovery. As a result, I found myself feeling quite apprehensive about traversing stairs for a while. This experience enabled me to empathize with the physical and psychological impacts someone may endure following a significant fall.
Can falls be prevented?
The truth is, that not all falls are avoidable, but some can be. The key lies in dedicating time to education and taking precautionary measures. There is a wealth of resources available to help in this regard, and in my preparation for this article, I thoroughly researched numerous options.
Among them, one resource stood out as the best. Allow me to share with you a valuable resource that can support you in your efforts…
- National Council on Aging (NCOA): Their Falls Prevention Resource Center offers tools, best practices, and other information on fall prevention for older adults.
Remember, a happy retirement is not just about financial security but also about maintaining health, safety, and independence.
So, take the time to educate yourself and implement preventive measures against falls, ensuring a safe and enjoyable retirement journey.