Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths, unintentional injuries, and hospital admissions for trauma. Falls can take a serious toll on older adults’ quality of life and independence. To recognize this critical issue, at the state level, SCR 77 (D-Lowenthal) was passed in 2008 declaring the first week of Fall each year as Fall Prevention Awareness Week.
FALL PREVENTION AWARENESS WEEK – SEPTEMBER 21 – 25, 2020
At the heart of this initiative is the message that falls are preventable. During Fall Prevention Awareness Week, California’s fall prevention coalitions, health care providers, and senior service agencies will hold presentations, health fairs, screenings, and workshops to raise awareness among older adults and their families and caregivers, elder care professionals, and the general public about the seriousness of falls and ways to reduce fall risk.
Understanding the risks:
- In 2011 (AZ), there were 124,155 ER visits, 17,824 hospitalizations, and 1033 fall related fatalities among older adults.
- The median hospital charge in 2011 for a fall injury (AZ) was $39,098 (excluding EMS response, ER visits, nursing homes, home healthcare, or rehabilitation costs).
- Falls account for 25% of all hospital admissions and 40% of all nursing home admissions. 40% of those admitted never return to independent living, and 25% perish within a year. Many falls do not result in injury, yet 47% cannot get up without assistance.
- Getting help after an immobilizing fall improves the chance of survival by 80% and increases the likelihood of a return to independent living.
- For older Americans who fall and are unable to get up on their own, the period of time spent immobile greatly affects their health. Muscle cell breakdown starts to occur in 30 minutes of compression due to falling. Dehydration, pressure sores, hypothermia, and pneumonia are other complications that may result.
Top Household Accidents:
- Stairs, Ramps, Uneven Surfaces
- Beds, Pillows and Mattresses
- Furniture, Doors and Tables
- Bathroom Fixtures
- Pools and Bodies of Water
- Desks, Cabinets and Shelves
- Cans and Containers
- Ladders and Stools
Why Older Adults Fall:
- 31% Accident
- 17% Balance Disorder
- 15% Other Specified
- 13% Dizziness/Vertigo
- 10% Drop Attack
YOU CAN HELP BY TAKING CHARGE!
- Make your home safer by reducing tripping hazards, adding grab bars around the toilet, shower, and tub areas, install anti-slip tape around areas that accumulate water or ice, improve the lighting around your home, and use the railings on staircases.
- Ask you DR to review ALL of your medications to help identify medicines that may cause dizziness and other harmful side effects.
- Exercise regularly. Weight bearing is often the best choice. Include stretching and breathing exercises. Have your eyes checked annually and use the correct prescription.
- Get adequate Calcium and Vitamin D to help with your bone density.
Safety Nick, as he is affectionately known, is the owner and operator of Home Hazard Prevention, LLC. Nick has been a professional firefighter in the South East Valley since 2005. HHP was launched in the Winter of 2012. With Nick’s extensive background in responding to and preventing emergencies, he decided that it was time to help the citizens of Maricopa and Pinal Counties learn how to be safe in a proactive manner. Nick has a wonderful (and understanding!) wife and the world’s most beautiful baby girl. He works tireless hours not only to help save your families lives, both as a firefighter and as a community safety expert, but also to be able to spend quality time with his family.
© HHP, LLC 2012-2020