The first day of fall, September 22 is observed as National Falls Prevention Awareness Day (FPAD) in the United States. Sponsored by the National Council on Aging (NCOA), this event aims to spread awareness about how to prevent fall-related injuries among older adults. This nationally collaborative program which enters its 10th year in 2017, provides a strong platform for building on best practices across all sectors of the healthcare system and to prevent fall and fall-related injuries in hospitals, home health and long-term care organizations nationwide. The theme for this year’s event is “10 Years Standing Together to Prevent Falls.”
Risk of falling increases as you age. Falls can take a serious toll on older adult’s quality of life and independence. This has made elderly fall prevention an important issue. According to Injury Facts 2017, (the statistical report on unintentional injuries created by the National Safety Council), falls are the leading cause of injury-related death for adults aged 65 years and older in the United States. More than 33,000 people died from falls in 2015, and most were above 65 years of age.
First observed in the year 2008, FPAD event participation has increased from 11 states to 48 states and the District of Columbia. The event is a great platform for healthy aging professionals, caregivers, older adults and policy makers to join together as a community to spread awareness and promote falls prevention among older adults. Here are some major suggestions or recommendations that can help prevent falls among older people:
- Increase physical activity to improve mobility and balance
- Get a fall risk assessment
- Regular review of medications by physicians or pharmacists to avoid drowsiness and dizziness
- Reduce trip and slip hazards in the home or outdoors
- Get regular vision check-ups and correct vision problems
- Reduce chances of hip fracture through good nutrition that includes adequate calcium and vitamin D
- Use personal walking devices (if necessary), such as a cane or walker, to aid in stability
Fall prevention is a team effort that requires a balance of dedication, intervention and community support. Families should be actively involved in slip/fall prevention.
As part of the annual campaign, professional multi-specialty healthcare providers in Brooklyn will host comprehensive programs such as health fairs, screenings and presentations to help people understand the potential risks of falls and measures to curb the same.