For Immediate Release
September 20, 2012

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

Kansas Standing Together to Prevent Falls

Falls Prevention Awareness Day Sept. 22

TOPEKA, Kan. – Kansas joins 45 other states and the Falls Free© Coalition in declaring Falls Prevention Awareness Day on the first day of fall, Sept. 22.

This year’s theme, Standing Together to Prevent Falls, seeks to unite professionals, older adults, caregivers and family members to play a part in raising awareness and preventing falls in the older adult population.

“Older adults in Kansas suffered more than 5,704 unintentional fall hospital discharges and 270 unintentional fall deaths in 2010.  Besides being devastating for the individual and their families, these injuries result in $34 million in medical and work loss costs,” said Robert Moser, M.D., KDHE Secretary and State Health Officer.  “We need to stand together as a community and raise awareness of preventive measures that can keep seniors safe in Kansas.”

Every 15 seconds in the U.S. an older adult is seen in an emergency department for a fall-related injury. Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for those aged 65 and over. Moreover, the chances of falling and of being seriously injured in a fall increase with age.

Studies show that a combination of interventions can significantly reduce falls in the older adult population. Experts recommend a physical activity regimen with balance, strength training and flexibility components; consulting with a health professional about getting a fall risk assessment; having medications reviewed periodically; getting eyes checked annually; and making sure the home environment is safe and supportive.

At senior centers and other community-based organizations across the U.S., programs like A Matter of Balance, Tai Chi, Stepping On and Walk with Ease help older adults gain the strength, improved balance and confidence to help them live healthier lives and preserve their independence.

For information on injury and disability prevention programs at KDHE go to www.kdheks.gov/idp/.  This site includes the Injury Prevention State Plan, Falling Less in Kansas, Check for Safety booklet and What You Can Do to Prevent Falls brochure. For more information on injury prevention programs, contact Lori Haskett at lhaskett@kdheks.gov.

For additional information on Fall Prevention from the National Council on Aging go to www.ncoa.org/improve-health/falls-prevention/.