Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds do Tai Chi in front of the capitol.

Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds do Tai Chi in front of the capitol.

Iowa’s governor has declared today “Fall Prevention Awareness Day.” Joel Wulf, assistant director of the Iowa Department on Aging, says for many older Iowans, their lives are changed forever when they fall.

“Since injuries and deaths from falls have risen 20 percent over the last decade in Iowa, coupled with a rapidly increasing demographic of older Iowans, the Iowa Department on Aging is working to reverse the trends related to falls,” Wulf says.

According to Iowa Department of Public Health director Marianette Miller-Meeks, there are “simple things” older Iowans can do to reduce their risk.

“Begin a regular exercise program. The Tai Chi for Arthritis is one of those that will help to demonstrate balance (and) core muscle strength, but even simple walking is beneficial,” Miller-Meeks says. “Review medications. Seniors are often on medications that they’ve on for the course of their lifetimes and a review of their medications by their health care provider, their family members or their pharmacist can help eliminate medications which may cause drowsiness, dizziness or contribute to falls.”

About 50 people, including Governor Branstad and LIeutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, did a Tai Chi exercise for about five minutes at the foot of the steps to the capitol this morning after Branstad signed a “Fall Prevention Day” proclamation.

“Across the nation fall prevention is focused on the first day of fall to highlight the risks that all of us have for unintentional falls and ways to prevent them,” said Barbara McClintock, a member of the Iowa Fall Prevention Coalition that organized today’s event.

This is also Healthy Aging Week in Iowa.