COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Aging is calling upon community partners to celebrate Falls Prevention Awareness Day on Friday, Sept. 21, 2018, by hosting a local “10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls” event.
Because walking and other regular exercise are among the best things older adults can do to lower their risk of a life-altering fall, the department’s STEADY U Ohio initiative aims to have at least 4,000 Ohioans take a one-mile walk to raise awareness and promote education about falls prevention.
“Aging and fall prevention really are everybody’s business, and we are calling on Ohio’s communities to help us protect our elders,” said Beverley L. Laubert, director of the department.
“A fall can prevent an employee or their caregiver from being at work, keep a valued customer from your business, or create strains on families and community supports. However, falls are not a normal part of aging, and most falls can be prevented.”
Community partners, such as businesses, senior centers, local government agencies, churches, schools and other organizations, can participate in “10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls” by organizing a walking group or hosting a one-mile (minimum) falls prevention awareness walk for their staff, partners and consumers on (or around) Sept. 21, 2018.
Potential venues include around your business or facility, indoor and outdoor walking tracks, YMCAs, community/state/metro parks, walking/bike paths, hiking trails, city sidewalks, malls and more. Visit www.steadyu.ohio.gov to learn more and register your event.
The Department of Aging will begin sharing available “10 Million Steps” events and groups on its STEADY U Ohio website in mid-August.
This is the fourth year for “10 Million Steps.” Last year, 53 community partners hosted 57 walking groups or events in which 4,935 individuals of all ages walked more than 22,000 miles. In addition, individuals around the state contributed by walking and posting selfies to social media with the hashtags #PreventFalls and #10MStepsOH.
Facts about falls in Ohio:
• One in three Ohioans over age 60 will fall this year, yet fewer than half will talk to their doctors about their risk or history of falls.
• Falls are the number one cause of injuries leading to ER visits, hospitalizations and deaths for older Ohioans.
• While older Ohioans make up approximately 16 percent of our state’s population, they account for more than 85 percent of fatal falls.
• The total estimated annual medical cost of falls is $1.1 billion in Ohio. Add costs related to work loss and the total climbs to $1.9 billion annually, or $5.2 million each day.
The causes of falls vary, but risk factors include lower body weakness, use of multiple medications, reduced vision, chronic conditions and unsafe homes.
Visit www.steadyu.ohio.gov for falls prevention tips and resources. While there, you can take an online falls risk assessment and learn about “A Matter of Balance,” a community-based falls prevention program.