Experts agree cross-society commitment to falls prevention key to safe aging
Arlington, VA—With 10,000 Americans turning 65 each day and the annual deaths as a result of falls nearly doubling in recent years, now is the time for society to commit to and invest in proven falls prevention strategies to keep seniors safe, according to participants in the 2015 National Council on Aging (NCOA) Falls Prevention Summit.
More than 110 experts in falls prevention from around the nation gathered to outline innovative ideas and set priorities to update the 2005 Falls Free® National Action Plan, the nation’s original blueprint for addressing this critical public health challenge.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently released data showing that from 2000 to 2013, age-adjusted death rates from unintentional falls for males aged 65 years and over grew from 38.2 per 100,000 in 2000 to 67.9 in 2013. For females, death rates virtually doubled from 24.6 in 2000 to 49.1 in 2013. The financial toll for older adult falls is expected to increase as the population ages and may reach $59.6 billion by 2020.
“These numbers show that it’s imperative for us to address falls as a society,” said Kathleen Cameron, Senior Director of NCOA’s National Falls Prevention Resource Center. “While, the National Action plan continues to be relevant today, we have 10 years of research, plus clinical and community activity that have changed what we know and understand about preventing falls. We need to incorporate new, proven strategies to reduce falls, which can positively impact older adults’ quality of life and independence.”
Summit participants set the following priorities:
- Increased falls prevention assessments of older adults for falls risk factors and enhanced clinical-community connections to link older adults at risk for falls with falls prevention programs in their communities
- Funding and expansion of falls prevention initiatives and evidence-based programs through both public and private sources of support
- Improved home and environmental safety to prevent falls in the home and in the community
- Increasing physical activity among older adults with a focus on wellness and active aging
- Enhanced public awareness and education about falls and falls prevention strategies
James Firman, President and CEO of NCOA agrees the updated priorities help set new goals that will support healthy aging through falls prevention.
“This summit was a unique opportunity to work together to set goals and priorities for falls prevention nationwide,” said Firman. “It is also the time for all of us—government agencies, philanthropic organizations, local coalition members, even private industry—to commit to the health of the aging population in America. All of us need to take action.”
The final 2015 Falls Free National Action Plan will be available later this year on ncoa.org.
The summit was hosted by the NCOA and its national Falls Free® Initiative with support provided by Archstone Foundation and Walmart.
National Falls Prevention Resource Center
NCOA’s National Falls Prevention Resource Center supports the implementation, dissemination, and sustainability of evidence-based falls prevention programs and strategies across the nation. The Center increases public awareness and educates consumers and professionals about the risks of falls and how to prevent them, and serves as the national clearinghouse of tools, best practices, and other information on falls prevention. The Center is supported by a grant from the U.S. Administration for Community Living/Administration on Aging. Learn more at ncoa.org/FallsPrevention.
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a respected national leader and trusted partner to help people aged 60+ meet the challenges of aging. Our mission is to improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are struggling. Through innovative community programs and services, online help, and advocacy, NCOA is partnering with nonprofit organizations, government, and business to improve the health and economic security of 10 million older adults by 2020. Learn more at ncoa.org and @NCOAging.