Check your vision and hearing to prevent falls

National Falls Prevention Awareness Week occurs every year the third week of September, which falls on September 20-24 in 2021. The purpose of Falls Prevention Awareness Week is to raise awareness about the impact of falls among older adults, promote the message that most falls are preventable and offer practical solutions to prevent falls. This year for Falls Prevention Awareness Week, the King County Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy (VSHSL), City of Seattle’s Aging and Disability Services (ADS), Sound Generations, and several local community-based organizations are teaming up to spread the word about how to prevent falls. 

Falls are a significant health issue for older adults. One in four older adults falls every year and falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans. Experiencing a fall can have far-reaching negative consequences, such as limiting a person’s activities and increasing social isolation. But there is some good news…most falls are preventable! One way to prevent falls is to take care of your vision and hearing by getting checked annually and taking any needed action to prevent vision or hearing loss.

Vision and hearing impact fall risk 

Research has shown that both vision impairment and hearing loss are associated with an increased risk of falling in older adults. Getting your vision and hearing checked annually is an important part of understanding your fall risk and accessing tools and supports that can help you navigate any vision or hearing loss.  To help, ADS created Eye Health and Hearing Health Self-Management Plans to offer tips and resources for how to care for your eyes and hearing as you age. 

Tools to navigate vision and hearing loss

The Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy funds several programs that provide training and education to help seniors and people with disabilities access assistive technology. Assistive technology is products, equipment or systems that help make learning, working and daily living tasks easier or possible for people with disabilities, including tools for individuals with vision or hearing loss.

Learn more about our partners’ programs by visiting their websites below:

  • Lighthouse for the Blind’s Low Vision Services and Supports Program provides evaluation, training and support services to address the needs of people with low vision, including operating a low vision clinic and store.
  • Open Doors for Multicultural Families’ Multicultural Assistive Technology Center provides assistive technology services to culturally and linguistically diverse individuals with disabilities through trainings, an assistive technology lending library and client support and advocacy. 
  • Washington Assistive Technology Act Program (WATAP) supports seniors to have greater access to assistive technology through assistive technology demonstrations and training services, with a focus on outreach to rural and tribal communities in King County.