NH DHHS - NH to Take “One Step at a Time” to Reduce Falls

Falls Awareness Placemat to Be Distributed to All Congregate Meal and Meals

on Wheels Participants

Concord, NH - New Hampshire joins all other states and the national Falls

Free™ Coalition in declaring a statewide Falls Prevention Awareness Day on

the first day of fall, September 21, 2013. This year’s theme, Preventing

Falls—One Step at a Time, 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.

Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries for New

Hampshire residents age 65 and older. Approximately 105 older Granite

Staters die every year because of a fall. Through the New Hampshire Falls

Risk Reduction Task Force, the State has been implementing falls reduction

initiatives for over a decade.

“15,000 placemats with a falls risk reduction message will be distributed

to Meals on Wheels and congregate meal site participants across the State,”

noted Diane Langley, Chief of the Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services at

the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. “This day of

awareness brings attention to a growing public health issue among older

adults, but more importantly, the growing availability of proven falls

prevention programs and effective interventions.”

“Older adults should be talking to their health care provider if they have

concerns about falls,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of the Division of

Public Health Services at DHHS. “In addition, they should have a simple set

of screening questions asked of them by their provider at least yearly. For

example, some medications or combinations of prescriptions can affect

balance. It’s extremely important to have your healthcare provider review

all of the medicines you take, even the over-the-counter or herbal ones.

Simple actions such as these can have a huge impact. ”

Four easy things everyone can do to help prevent falls include:

Increase your physical activity. Simple exercise, like walking or

swimming at least 15 minutes a day can help build muscle strength and

improve balance, which can prevent falls. Exercise programs such as

Tai Chi that increase strength and improve balance are especially


See your eye doctor once a year. Age-related eye diseases, such as

cataracts, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy, can

increase the risk of falling. Early detection is key to minimizing

the effects of these conditions.

Review your medications. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the

medicines you are taking and ask whether they may cause drowsiness or

dizziness. Discuss things you can do to ensure you are taking your

medicines safely.

Remove environmental hazards. Look around the house for anything that

could increase the risk of falls, including poor lighting, loose

rugs, slippery floors, and unsteady furniture. Remove or modify these


Fore more information about the Falls Free™ Coalition or Falls Prevention

Awareness Day visit


. To learn more about fall prevention go to

http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/index.html or

http://www.nhfalls.org. To learn about the Division of Public Health

Services, Injury Prevention Program go to