Concord, NH – New Hampshire is joining 35 other states in observing Falls Prevention Awareness Day on the first day of fall, September 23rd. National Falls Prevention Awareness Day is observed the first day of fall to promote and increase awareness about how to prevent and reduce falls among older adults.
“Falls in New Hampshire residents cost approximately 70.4 million dollars per year (in 2007) in just hospitalization and emergency room visits alone”, said Dr. Jose Montero, Director of the Division of Public Health Services. “We need to help educate people about preventive measures that can keep seniors safe in New Hampshire ”
Falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries for Americans 65 and older. More than 18,000 older Americans die every year because of a fall, and the rate has risen dramatically over the last 10 years. The death rates in New Hampshire due to falls have also been increasing significantly over the last few years.
“When older adults fall, it often leads to a loss of independence, reduced mobility, and earlier admission to a nursing home,” said Dr. Montero. “But the good news is, through appropriate risk management – falls are preventable.”
Studies show that a combination of interventions can significantly reduce falls in older adults. Screening and assessment by a health care provider is often the first step. Experts also recommend a physical activity regimen with balance, strength training, and flexibility components; having medications reviewed periodically, getting eyes checked annually; and making sure the home environment is safe and supportive.
New Hampshire’s Falls Risk Reduction Task Force, has been working over the past decade to implement falls reduction initiatives. On Thursday, members of the Task Force are facilitating a variety of activities including screening fairs, talks by experts, and medication reviews. The New Hampshire Falls Risk Reduction Task Force is part of the Falls Free™ Coalition, which includes 35 states and 70 national organizations, professional associations and federal agencies across the country dedicated to reducing fall-related injury and death among older adults.