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Indiana Works To Be "Strong Today, Falls Free Tomorrow" On Falls Prevention Awareness Day

by Indiana State Department of Health on September 23, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS—Today is the first day of Fall and is also the seventh annual National Falls Prevention Awareness Day. This year’s theme, “Strong Today, Falls Free Tomorrow,” strives to raise awareness of injuries due to falls and prevent falls in the elderly population.  According to the National Council on Aging, last year’s campaign reached more than 2 million people.

“Falls are one of the leading causes of fatal and non-fatal injuries in Indiana,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “Falls Prevention Awareness Day is a time to help make people aware of the dangers of falling.”

In 2012, Hoosiers ages 65 years and older suffered 8,211 falls that resulted in hospitalizations and there were 328 fatalities due to falls. Every 15 seconds, an older adult is seen in an Emergency Department for a fall-related injury. As one ages, the chances of falling and of being seriously injured in a fall increases. Hip fractures due to falls in older adults resulted in an additional 895 emergency room visits.


Five easy ways to prevent falls include:

      Increase your physical activity. Exercises like walking or swimming at least 15 minutes a day can help build muscle strength and improve balance, which can prevent falls. Exercise programs that increase strength and improve balance also help.
See your eye doctor once every year. Age-related eye diseases, such as cataracts, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, can increase the risk of falling. Early detection is critical to minimizing the effects of these conditions.
Review your medications. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the medicines you are taking and whether they may cause drowsiness or dizziness.
Remove environmental hazards. Search your home for anything that could cause falls, including poor lighting, loose rugs, slippery floors and unsteady furniture.  Remove or modify these hazards.
Think, plan and slow down. Many falls are caused by hurrying. Slow down and think through the task you are performing.

Thirty percent of adults age 65 and older who live in the community fall each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That number increases to 50 percent for older adults who live in residential care facilities or nursing homes.

Indiana is part of the Falls Free© Coalition, which includes several states and national organizations, professional associations and federal agencies across the country dedicated to reducing fall-related injuries and deaths among older adults.


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