Falls are the most common cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among older Americans. But falling is not inevitable. Aging Matters: Fall Prevention, an original production from Nashville Public Television, explores the risks associated with falling and how people can better equip themselves and their homes to avoid falls. The half-hour documentary premieres Thursday, Dec. 17, at 8 p.m. on NPT, streaming at video.wnpt.org.
NPT and FiftyForward will host a virtual preview screening via Facebook Wednesday, Dec. 16, from noon to 12:30 p.m. During the virtual screening, people featured in the documentary will be online to offer commentary and answer viewers’ questions.
Aging Matters: COVID-19 Safer at Home?, a discussion of what it takes for older adults to truly stay safer-at-home during the pandemic and otherwise, premieres Thursday, Dec. 17, at 8:30 p.m.
Improving balance and strengthening core muscles through yoga, tai chi and exercise is one way to decrease one’s risk of falling. Aging Matters: Fall Prevention introduces several people who are taking steps to do just that. The program also explores common habits and situations that put people in danger, things like walking around the house in socks on slippery floors or encountering an unexpected puddle of melted snow. That’s what happened to Sandi Lasher, who ended up with a broken hip and a long road to recovery.
As Kathleen Cameron, senior director of the National Council on Aging’s Center for Healthy Aging, notes in the film, an accident like that can often put people on the path to future falls, as can sedentary lifestyles. “That person is going to be at higher risk for falls because they’re going to develop muscle weakness; their balance is going be off. Their gait may be off as well, which puts them at tremendous risk for falls.”
Removing obstacles in the home – throw rugs and dim lighting, for example – is also key to staying safe. In-home safety assessments such as those performed by FiftyForward (demonstrated in an Aging Matters: Fall Prevention segment)can help identify potential problems.
Taking a complete list of a person’s medications, considering chronic conditions and examining their vision and their feet are also important parts of fall prevention, says Nashville Healthcare Center’s Dr. Taura Long in the documentary. Dr. Long notes a patient’s medications might also require adjustments to prevent accidents. “As we get older, or you may not need that medicine that you’ve taken for 20 years; it may be that we need to take it away from your regimen or change it altogether,” she says in the film.
Additional broadcast times for Aging Matters: Fall Prevention are Sunday, Dec. 20, at 6:30 p.m. and Tuesday, Dec. 22, at midnight on NPT. Airtimes on NPT2 are Monday, Dec. 21, at 8 a.m.; Tuesday, Dec. 22, at 1 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 27, at 12:30 a.m.
Additional broadcast times for Aging Matters: COVID-19 Safer at Home? are Sunday, Dec. 27, at 6:30 p.m. on NPT and Monday, Dec. 21, at 8:30 a.m.; and Tuesday, Dec. 22, at 1:30 p.m. on NPT2.
The programs will also be available for online viewing at video.wnpt.org.
The NPT Reports: Aging Matters series is hosted by Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Kathy Mattea. Aging Matters: Fall Prevention was produced by Shawn Anfinson, whose most recent documentary was Next Door Neighbors: Music City, USA. Anfinson also produced 2018’s Aging Matters: Dental Health.
Aging Matters is made possible by the generous support of the West End Home Foundation, the Jeanette Travis Foundation, The HCA Healthcare Foundation and Cigna. Additional support was provided by the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and Jackson National Life Insurance Company.