Every 20 Minutes an Older Adult Dies from a Fall

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NCOA’s 8th annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day highlights education and action

Arlington, VA — Today–the first day of fall–is Falls Prevention Awareness Day, and the National Council on Aging (NCOA) is asking all Americans to Take a Stand to Prevent Falls among older adults.

Too often, falls can cause older adults to lose their independence. Every 20 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall, and every 13 seconds an older adult is treated in an emergency department for a fall-related injury. Up to 30% of people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries, making it harder for them to live independently.

“Falls Prevention Awareness Day provides a valuable opportunity to educate older adults and the community about falls risks and how to reduce their risks,” said Kathleen Cameron, Senior Director of NCOA’s National Falls Prevention Resource Center. “Falls prevention is about being healthy and proactive. There are simple steps that all of us can take to help older adults stay safe and on their feet.”

NCOA leads the National Falls Prevention Resource Center that increases public awareness and educates consumers and professionals about the risks of falls and how to prevent falls, and promotes evidence-based falls prevention programs.

In July, the National Falls Prevention Resource Center released the 2015 Falls Free® National Action Plan—a blueprint describing what should be done to reduce the growing number of falls and fall-related injuries among older adults.

During Falls Prevention Awareness Day on Sept. 23, state and local falls prevention coalitions, community-based organizations such as senior centers, health care providers, and others across the United States will offer screenings, educational activities, and programs to help older adults understand their falls risk and take steps to prevent falls.

Among these steps, experts recommend that older adults:

  • Participate in a physical activity program with balance, strength training, and flexibility components.
  • Consult a health professional about getting a falls risk assessment.
  • Have their medications reviewed by a doctor or pharmacist periodically.
  • Get their eyes and ears checked annually.
  • Make sure their home environment is safe and supportive.
  • Talk to their family members about falls prevention.

“Falls do not have to be a normal part of aging,” said Cameron. “Small changes can have a big impact. Get educated early and take advantage of the support available in your community.”

Find more tips for preventing falls at ncoa.org/fallsprevention.

About NCOA

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.