September is Fall Prevention Awareness Month
Falls are the leading cause of injury deaths, hospitalizations and emergency department visits among adults 65 and older. Each year in New York State, an average of 900 residents aged 65 years and older die from injuries sustained from falls, and more than 128,000 are treated at hospitals due to falls. Falls can result in lasting, serious consequences, affecting mobility, independence and mental health. Fortunately, the risk of falling can be reduced through small steps like annual eye exams or exercise programs to improve strength and balance.
National Fall Prevention Awareness Day is celebrated on the first day of Fall, and this year will be on September 22, 2012. Because of the serious impact that falls have on older adults in New York, as well as the great potential for risk reduction, we are asking that Local Health Departments and other community agencies across the state plan activities during the month of September that will support fall prevention for older adults. Attached you will find a list of potential activities, such as screenings, exercise programs, and games, that can be used to raise awareness about falls and reduce the risk for older adults in your community. Additional resources and ideas can be found at the National Council on Aging website (http://www.ncoa.org/improve-health/center-for-healthy-aging/falls-prevention/falls-prevention-awareness.html). We encourage you to partner with your local Office for the Aging, as that organization can be an important resource by providing support and increasing the reach of your events. You can locate contact information at http://www.aging.ny.gov/nysofa/localoffices.cfm. Also, the NYS Department of Health’s website has useful data and information on effective prevention strategies (http://www.nyhealth.gov/prevention/injury_prevention/falls_in_older_adults_nys.htm).
To support your participation in the September 2012 Fall Prevention Awareness month campaign, the Injury Prevention Program intends to provide a limited supply of night-lights for distribution at community fall prevention events. The number of incentives provided will be determined based on need and availability. If you are planning to hold an event for Fall Prevention Awareness month, please complete the attached form and return to Kara Burke at firstname.lastname@example.org or via fax (518) 474-3067. Please send the completed form by August 13, 2012. Kara may be reached at (518) 473-1143 if you have any questions. Thank you for your participation in Fall Prevention Awareness month!
Featured County Events: Many counties are running activities for Fall Prevention Awareness Month. For more information on these activities, visit the county websites or contact the health departments directly.
Broome County Health Department: Broome County Health Department, the Broome County Office for Aging and the Broome County YMCA have been working together; in conjunction with the New York State Department of Health and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on a national Fall Prevention project that provides adults 65 and older with the opportunity to participate in different community fall prevention programs, focused on improving functional ability (balance, physical function) and, consequently, reduces fall-related risks and falls frequency. The local project is called Better Balance for Broome. Click here to read the full press release Fall is the Perfect Time to Better Your Balance with a Fall Prevention Program
Columbia County Department of Health: The Columbia County Department of Health will provide Falls Prevention education at all of the Columbia County Office for the Aging “Food and Friendship” sites, where people ages 60 and up congregate for meals, activities, and educational workshops. During these visits, they will provide education to increase the adults’ awareness of safety inside and outside of the home. To give the adults practical knowledge to prevent falls, Columbia County will demonstrate exercises and activities that the adults can practice each day. Columbia County Department of Health will distribute night lights, provided by New York State Department of Health, to the attendees to enhance safety inside the home. They will distribute educational materials to the Food and Friendship site attendees, as well as to the adults receiving Meals on Wheels at home.
Jefferson County Fall Prevention Program: Jefferson County Public Health Services is offering a FREE 6 week Fall Prevention Program. Beginning September 21, 2012, the team of physical therapists, occupational therapists, and educators will conduct a six week workshp that includes classroom instructions and hands-on training at each session in order to reduce your (or someone you care for) risk of falling. For more information go to www.jcphs.org. To register call 315-786-3710.
Suffolk County Department of Health Services: Suffolk County Reaches Out to Older Adults through Innovative "Fall Prevention" Programs. Click here to read the newsletter. For more information on Stepping On or Staying Independent for Life, residents may call: 854-3089.
Yates County Health Department: Yates County Public Health, along with their Emergency Management Services, will be offering the following activities for the Fall Prevention month.