Editor’s Note: In honor of EMS Week, the Yuma Fire Department released a series of information and tips about safety. This story on injury prevention for seniors is one in that series.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than one third of adults 65 and older fall each year in the United States, and among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury death. This could be something as simple as tripping in a parking lot or more serious incidents, like falling from a ladder or roof. Every week at least 10% of the Yuma Fire Department’s calls for service are fall-related. No matter your age or activity, it pays to watch your footing and be careful.

Older adults can take several steps to protect their independence and reduce their risk of falling. They can: exercise regularly and improve balance; ask their doctor or pharmacist to review their medicines–both prescription and over-the counter–to reduce side effects and interactions; have their eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year; improve the lighting in their home; and reduce hazards in their home that can lead to falls. The best treatment in the world cannot compare to never being injured in the first place. Safety is no accident!

Strokes are the third leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability. A stroke is a life threatening emergency and every minute counts. Know the signs and symptoms essential for rapid diagnosis and treatment.

You can use the acronym F.A.S.T. to remember signs and symptoms associated with having a stroke. “F” stands for “face.” Can you smile without one side of your face drooping? “A” stands for “arms.” Is one weak or numb? When you raise your arms, does one drift downward? “S” stands for “speech.” Is your speech slurred? Can you repeat simple sentences correctly? “T” stands for “time.” Studies have shown that the longer a stroke goes untreated, the greater the chances of neurological damage.

The Yuma Fire Department offers a voluntary registration program for Special Needs citizens living in the City of Yuma. The “Special Needs” population would include those with mobility challenges, acute dependency on utilities (medication preservation, oxygen, or other life support devices), and those with other acute medication or health monitoring needs. If you are interested in being added to this list, please contact Fire Administration at 373-4850.

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