Falls Prevention Awareness Day
The first day of fall marks Falls Prevention Awareness Day — and this year, the holiday lands on September 23. This holiday, sponsored by the National Council on Aging (NCOA), is an opportunity for people to learn how to prevent fall-related injuries that affect older adults.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: One-fourth of Americans aged 65+ fall each year. Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
Falls result in more than 3 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 850,000 hospitalizations and more than 29,000 deaths. In 2015, the total cost of fall injuries was $50 billion. The financial toll for older adult falls is expected to increase as the population ages and may reach $67.7 billion by 2020.
Falls, with or without injury, also carry a heavy quality of life impact. A growing number of older adult’s fear falling and, as a result, limit their activities and social engagements. This can result in further physical decline, depression, social isolation, and feelings of helplessness.
Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for older Americans, threatening their safety and independence and generating enormous economic costs. However, falling is not an inevitable result of aging. Through practical lifestyle adjustments and evidence-based falls prevention programs the number of falls among older adults can be substantially reduced.
Easy Steps Anyone Can Take Today Review your medications with a medical provider or pharmacist.
Have an annual eye exam. Make your home as safe as possible. Remove tripping hazards from stairs and walkways.
Remove small throw rugs or use double-sided tape to keep the rugs from slipping. Keep often-used items in cabinets you can reach easily without using a step stool. Have handrails and lights on all stairs. Attend an evidence-based falls prevention program, such as A Matter of Balance, Tai Ji Quan – Moving for Better Balance, Stepping On or Stay Active and Independent for Life. In Minnesota, you can find a local class by visiting yourjuniper.org.
For more information on Falls Prevention Awareness Day, visit www.ncoa.org/healthy-aging/falls-prevention/falls-prevention-awareness-day.