OLDER ADULT HEALTH – FALLS PREVENTION

older adults pictureOlder adults account for a disproportionate share of fall-related injuries, and falls are particularly harmful to older adults. Falls and fall-related injuries seriously affect older adults’ quality of life and present a substantial burden to the Ohio healthcare system. They surpass all other mechanisms of injury as a cause of emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalization and death.

An older adult falls every minute on average in Ohio, resulting in three deaths each day, two hospitalizations each hour, and an ED visit every six and one-half minutes. Approximately 1 in 4 older adults will fall this year, but YOU don’t have to!

FALLS AMONG OLDER ADULTS HAVE REACHED EPIDEMIC PROPORTIONS

Falls are the leading cause of injury-related ED visits, hospitalizations and deaths for Ohioans aged 65 and older.

  • Older adults account for 16 percent of the Ohio population; however, they account for 85 percent of fatal falls.
  • From 2000 to 2015, Ohioans aged 65 and older experienced a 201 percent increase in the number of fatal falls.
FALLS ARE COSTLY

The estimated total lifetime costs (medical and work loss costs combined) of unintentional falls among Ohioans aged 65 years and older is nearly $2 billion.

FALLS ARE NOT A NORMAL PART OF AGING

There are simple steps that older adults can take to reduce their risk for a fall. Additional resources, including checklists and brochures, are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

TO HELP REDUCE YOUR RISK OF FALLING:
  • Talk to your doctor about fall risks
  • Do exercises to help make your legs stronger to improve your balance
  • Make your home safe by getting rid of trip hazards, keeping floors clutter-free, and adding grab bars where needed

THERE ARE RESOURCES AVAILABLE IN OUR COMMUNITY TO HELP PREVENT FALLS
older adults picture 2HOME MODIFICATIONS

Erie County older adults who are at risk of falling may qualify for free home safety supplies and installation. Items available include shower grab bars, hand-held shower heads, raised toilet seats, transfer chairs, lighting, and handrails.  For more information contact SERVING OUR SENIORS at (419) 624-1856.

STRUCTURED BALANCE BUILDING AND WALKING PROGRAMS

Walk With Ease is an evidence-based walking program from the Arthritis Foundation that is proven to help reduce pain, strengthen muscles, increase balance, and increase walking pace.

Tai Chi for Arthritis is a low impact exercise that is safe for all ages and levels of fitness and can even be adapted for those who need to remain seated. Tai Chi may reduce falls in older adults by up to 45%.

Classes are offered throughout Erie County. Contact the Erie County Health Department at (419) 626-5623, Ext 5223 for a schedule of classes.

FIRELANDS 55+ CLUB

Stay socially connected and engaged in your quest for good physical and mental health by subscribing to the Firelands 55+ Club monthly e-newsletter. Visit https://www.firelands.com/patients-guests/firelands-55-club/ for more information and to subscribe to the newsletter.

CONTACT

For more information on the Falls Prevention, contact:

Amy McKinley
Public Health Educator
Erie County Health Department
(419) 626-5623 ext. 5223
AMcKinley@echdohio.org