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In September, Increasing the Awareness of Preventing Falls

Just days away, thousands of educators, caregivers, health and aging professionals, and older adults across the country focus their efforts on one goal: preventing falls. That’s why thousands of organizations are celebrating Falls Prevention Awareness Day on September 23, 2019 This year’s activities will focus on the teamwork needed to prevent falls effectively.

National Fall Prevention Day is September 23, 2019 Photo Credit: Iowa Department of Public Health

Forty-eight states participated in Falls Prevention Awareness Day last year, joining more than 70 national professional organizations and federal agencies.

“Falls prevention is a team effort that takes a balance of education, intervention, and community support,” said Kathleen Cameron, Senior Director of NCOA’s National Falls Prevention Resource Center. “This is an opportunity to empower and educate everyone about their roles in preventing falls.”

More than 25 percent of older people fall each year, but less than half tell their health care provider, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Falls account for 2.8 million older people visiting emergency departments each year and over 800,000 hospitalizations.

As many as 300,000 older people experience hip fractures each year requiring admission to a skilled nursing rehabilitation facility. Of those injuries, 95 percent are caused by falling. More than 27,000 older adults die from unintentional falls annually, reports the CDC. The direct medical costs for fall injuries are approximately $31 billion annually.

Falling a Common Occurrence

CDC says that more than 25 percent of older people fall each year, but less than half tell their health care provider.  Falls account for 2.8 million older people visiting emergency departments each year and over 800,000 hospitalizations, says the federal agency.

But the Washington, DC-based National Council on Aging says that falls are not an inevitable part of aging. There are proven ways to prevent them.  During Falls Prevention Day, across the country, classes and seminars are being held, with the organizers performing thousands of risk screening and educating older adults about evidence-based falls prevention programs.

“Falls prevention is a team effort that takes a balance of education, intervention, and community support,” said Kathleen Cameron, Senior Director of NCOA’s National Falls Prevention Resource Center. “This is an opportunity to empower and educate everyone about their roles in preventing falls.”

 Fall Prevention Programs typically include screening for fall risk within living environments; a home assessment and environmental modification for those with known risk factors or a history of falling; and the prescription of appropriate assistive devices to address physical and sensory impairments.

There are clinical interventions to identify risk factors, such as medication review and modification, treatment of low blood pressure, vitamin D and calcium supplementation, and treatment of correctable visual impairment. Group programs may incorporate fall prevention education and tai chi-type exercises or dynamic balance and strength training.

To find out more about Falls Prevention Awareness Day, go to www.ncoa.org/FPAD.

 

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