September is Falls Prevention Awareness Month

STEADY U Ohio

 

September is Falls Prevention Awareness Month

September 22 not only marks the start of the fall season, it is also National Falls Prevention Awareness Day. Throughout the month, the STEADY U Ohio initiative and its partner organizations are drawing attention to the epidemic of falls among older adults, with a simple message: Most falls can be prevented!

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Join us for the 3rd annual “10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls.” On September 22, and throughout the month, STEADY U will partner with community organizations to plan and host local walking events and groups, with the goal of getting at least 4,000 Ohioans to walk a mile each in the name of falls prevention. Organizations can register their events at  www.steadyu.ohio.gov. Individuals can also join by taking a one-mile walk by themselves or with others, and posting a selfie to social media using the hashtags #PreventFalls and #10MStepsOH.

An older Ohioan falls every two minutes on average, resulting in an injury every five minutes, six emergency department visits and one hospitalization each hour, and three deaths each day. The number of fatal falls among older Ohioans has increased more than 167 percent since 2000.

 

Some mistakenly believe that falls are a normal part of the aging process. It is true that our risk for falls increases as we age due mainly to body changes. But there are many things we can do to keep those changes in check or compensate for them.

·         Simply walking at least 15 minutes a day can build muscle strength and improve balance.

·         Programs like tai chi and “A Matter of Balance” can give you tools to build balance, strength and flexibility.

·         Talk to your health care provider and ask for a falls risk assessment. Discuss your medications and history of falls.

·         Get your vision and hearing checked annually.

·         Drink plenty of fluids and eat a well-balanced diet.

Visit www.steadyu.ohio.gov and follow along on Facebook and Twitter all month long for tips and resources to help you prevent falls.

Social Media

Facebook: Take a stand to prevent #PreventFalls! Join us and STEADY U Ohio in celebrating Falls Prevention Awareness Day, Sept. 22, 2017. Falls are not a normal part of aging and most falls can be prevented. #PreventFalls #10MStepsOH www.steadyu.ohio.gov

 

 

Twitter: Join @SteadyUOhio in celebrating Falls Prevention Awareness Day, Sept. 22, 2017. #PreventFalls. #10MStepsOH www.steadyu.ohio.gov

 

 

 

Columbus, Ohio – One in three Ohioans over age 60 will fall this year, and for many of them, that fall could lead to a life-changing injury or even death. However, falls are not a normal part of aging, and most falls can be prevented. To celebrate National Falls Prevention Awareness Day and to raise awareness of the many ways older Ohioans can minimize their risks, the STEADY U Ohio initiative is asking all Ohioans to help take “10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls” on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017.

“You probably know someone who has fallen, or maybe have a falls story of your own,” said Stephanie M. Loucka, director of the Ohio Department of Aging, which operates the STEADY U Ohio initiative. “A single fall can change the life not only of the person who falls, but also their family members, friends and neighbors. Join us to help ensure your loved ones and elders around the state remain safe, independent and able to contribute to their communities for as long as possible.”

Held statewide on Sept. 22 and throughout the month, “10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls” asks Ohioans to walk at least one mile to help raise awareness of falls prevention. You can participate in one of three ways:

  1. Anytime in September, take a one-mile walk and post a selfie to social media using the hashtags #PreventFalls and #10MStepsOH. Posts will be counted toward the state’s goal.
  2. Participate in a “10 Million Steps” group event in your community. Dozens of community organizations have partnered with STEADY U Ohio to sponsor local walking events with information and resources to help you and your loved ones prevent falls. Visit www.steadyu.ohio.gov for the list of events.
  3. Organize co-workers, club members, sports teams, classrooms, neighbors, congregation members or other groups to host your own “10 Million Steps” group walk. Register your group or event at www.steadyu.ohio.gov.

Last year, more than 3,500 Ohioans walked approximately 6,800 miles statewide, smashing the state’s goal of 4,000 participants. At an average of 2,500 steps per mile, that’s more than 17 million steps taken in the name of falls prevention last year. The department and STEADY U Ohio hopes to surpass that goal again this year.

Falls among older Ohioans have reached epidemic proportions; one in three older adults will fall this year, and falls are the leading cause of emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths among our elders. The good news is that falls are not a normal part of aging, and most falls can be prevented.

Regular physical activity, such as walking 15-30 minutes a day, is one of the most basic things you can do to reduce your risk of falling because it strengthens muscles, improves balance and flexibility, and increases stamina. Further, when we walk together, we make valuable social connections that can be very important as we age.

Basic things older adults can do to lower their risk of falls:

  • Engage in 15-30 minutes of simple exercise like walking or swimming every day.
  • Talk to your doctor about falls and your risk at every visit; talk about any recent falls.
  • Review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist for combinations that may increase your risk.
  • Get your hearing and vision checked at least annually; use eyeglasses and hearing aids as prescribed.
  • Stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet.
  • Examine your home for common slipping and tripping hazards and remove them.