Wednesday, September 21, 2011

National Fall Prevention Awareness Day is this Friday

This Friday, the first day of fall, is the National Falls Prevention Awareness Day to promote and increase public awareness about how to prevent and reduce falls among older adults.

For Colorado adults ages 65 and older, falls are the leading cause of injury death and hospitalization. To increase awareness, many local Colorado communities will observe Fall Prevention Awareness Day by providing education to older adults and their caregivers about older adult fall prevention and promoting evidence-based exercise programs that improve balance, gait and strength with older adults.

Research shows that exercise is the most effective prevention strategy, but to see measurable improvements exercise must be combined with other preventions strategies, such as: caregiver education, medication management, vision exams, and home safety assessment and modification.

Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that falls among older adults cost the U.S. health care system over $19 billion dollars or $28.2 billion in 2010 dollars. And a 2006 study found that the hospitalization cost for a fall injury for one person is $17,500. With the population aging, both the number of falls and the costs to treat fall injuries are likely to increase.

Fortunately, falls are a public health problem that is largely preventable.

What is the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment doing to prevent falls among older adults?
CDPHE’s Injury, Suicide and Violence Prevention Unit is working with community-based partners to decrease the rate of serious older adult fall-related injuries.

Colorado was recently one of three states to be awarded a $1.25 million grant from the CDC to integrate evidence-based practices and exercise interventions with the community and clinical care practice. Specifically, CDPHE and its partners aim to decrease older adult fall hospitalizations by 10 percent in Adams and Arapahoe counties over the next five years.

CDPHE is contracting with Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) to lead the local implementation of this project. TCHD leads the Fall Prevention Network (FPN), a successful community collaborative that improves coordination and access to fall prevention services. Other partners supporting the project include: State Unit of Aging, the Denver Regional Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging, and members of the Colorado Adult Falls Prevention Coalition.

To learn more about CDPHE is doing to prevent falls among older adults please contact
Sallie Thoreson 970-248-7161, Patricia Nord 303-692-2566 or Lindsey Myers 303-692-2589.

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