The Richmond Register

September 17, 2013

Sunday is Falls Prevention Awareness Day

By Gina Noe
Extension Agent

RICHMOND — Kentucky is one of 47 states, along with the national Falls Free Initiative, declaring a statewide Falls Prevention Awareness Day on the first day of fall this Sunday.

This year’s theme, Preventing Falls-One Step at a Time, seeks to unite professionals, older adults, caregivers and family members to play a part in raising awareness and preventing falls in the older adult population.

After the age of 65, common, age -related, physical changes and medical conditions, including the medications taken to treat illness and disease, increase a person’s risk of falling.

While not all falls are serious, falls remain the leading cause of injury and injury-related death among older adults in the United States.

Some people let falls or the fear of falling rule their life. They stop being physically and socially active, they isolate themselves or they become more dependent and less confident.

On a typical day in Kentucky, accidental falls among older adults result in 67 emergency room visits, 21 hospitalizations and 10 hip fractures. While falls create a wide array of economic and life quality costs, they are highly preventable.

Falls Prevention Awareness Day raises awareness of the many preventive measures that can be taken to keep seniors safe. Knowing the risks and being familiar with fall prevention measures can prevent falls. Studies show that a combination of steps can significantly reduce falls among older adults. Experts recommend:

• A physical activity regimen with balance, strength training and flexibility components

• Consulting with a health professional about getting a fall risk assessment

• Having medications reviewed periodically

• Getting eyes checked annually

• Making sure the home environment is safe and supportive

• New research also suggests hearing loss should be routinely assessed

Contact the Madison County Extension Office, 623-4072, for more information about falls prevention programs.

For more information, please visit:

National Council on Aging: www.ncoa.org/FPAD

Kentucky Safe Aging Coalition: safekentucky.org/index.php/top-menu-older-adults-safety

No Falls Kentucky: nofalls.org

Adapted From: National Council on Aging

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin.