While falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injury for people age 65 and older, they are not an inevitable part of aging. This year’s Fall Prevention Awareness Day event, Take a Stand to Prevent Falls, seeks to raise awareness about how to prevent fall-related injury among older adults.
“In Hamilton County, there were 736 fall-related hospitalizations among older adults in 2012, resulting in almost $27 million in hospital charges. In that same year, 19 older adults died as a result of a fall*,” said Carleena Angwin, Public Health Educator with the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department. “We can change this by bringing greater attention to the many preventive measures that can be easily employed to help keep older adults safe.”
According to Regena Young, RN, BSN, Outreach & Injury Prevention Coordinator with Erlanger Trauma Services, “In 2014, Erlanger Trauma Services admitted 1,271 patients for injuries related to falls, which is equal to 44% of trauma patients for the year.” Per Ms. Young, “This does not include the number of patients admitted to Erlanger Orthopedic Services for isolated hip fractures.”
Studies show that a combination of behavioral changes can significantly reduce falls among older adults. Experts recommend:
- Participating in a physical activity regimen with balance, strength training, and flexibility components.
- Consulting with a health professional about having a fall risk assessment.
- Having medications reviewed periodically.
- Getting eyes and ears checked annually.
- Making sure the home environment is safe and supportive.
Several Chattanooga agencies are joining forces to recognize Falls Prevention Awareness Day, and are inviting the community to a health event at the Eastgate Senior Activity Center, Tuesday, September 29th from 9:00-11:30am in the Eastgate Mall. There will be health screenings, educational sessions, medication review and take-back, home safety stations, giveaways, and much more! The welcome ceremony and first door prize giveaway begin at 9:30am.
The event is sponsored by the Eastgate Senior Activity Center, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department, UTC School of Nursing, Erlanger Trauma Services, City of Chattanooga Youth and Family Development and BlueCare Tennessee, in partnership with additional community agencies and networks.