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First Day of Fall: Think Fall Prevention

 

Injury from falls a leading cause of death for Tennessee seniors

Tennessee Department of HealthNashville, TN – A simple fall can be a nuisance for many people, but for a senior adult, it can be a matter of life or death. Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen has declared September 23rd, 2010 as Falls Prevention Awareness Day to raise awareness about how to prevent and reduce falls among older adults. Tennessee will join 34 other states to observe the National Falls Prevention Awareness Day on the first day of fall.

“Most falls are predictable and preventable, and there are simple steps our seniors can take to reduce their risk of injury from falls,” said Health Commissioner Susan R. Cooper, MSN, RN. “We are working with our partners in the public and private sector to educate Tennesseans about this important health issue so we can all remain active and independent for years to come.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths among adults age 65 and older. One in three adults in this age group falls each year. Analysis of injury and death data for Tennessee residents reveals that falls are a serious health problem for seniors. In 2008, individuals ages 65 and older accounted for almost 80 percent of deaths from falls in the state, 70  percent of hospitalizations for fall-related injury and 20 percent of all individuals treated and released from Tennessee hospitals and emergency rooms after falling.

Recommendations for preventing falls among older adults include encouraging them to exercise regularly, having annual vision checks, reviewing medications to reduce side effects and performing a simple fall prevention checklist to reduce hazards that can cause falls. CDC has a checklist available online at www.cdc.gov/ncipc/pub-res/toolkit/checklistforsafety.htm.

“Currently older adults are the fastest growing segment of the population, both nationally and in Tennessee, and it is more important than ever to address this growing public health issue,” said Rose Boyd, coordinator for the Injury Surveillance, Prevention and Control Program. “For many of our seniors, preventing falls is a way to maintain independence and quality of life.”

Through the efforts of the Commissioner’s Council on Injury Prevention and Control, partners across Tennessee will work together to educate older adults on how to prevent and protect themselves from life changing devastating falls. One recent initiative, the Older Adult Safety Instructional Series (OASIS), provides activities that highlight fall prevention and offer solutions to seniors to help reduce and minimize the risk of falls. 

For more information on fall prevention or the Tennessee Injury Surveillance, Prevention and Control Program, contact Rose Boyd at 615-741-2213 or by email at rose.boyd@tn.gov.


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