Ohioans take more than 47 million steps to raise awareness of older adult falls

COLUMBUS — In September, Ohioans of all ages walked 47,752,500 steps to raise awareness of older adult falls, vastly exceeding the 10 million step goal.

The Ohio Department of Aging’s annual 10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls campaign aligns with National Falls Prevention Awareness Week and promotes the resources available from the department and its partners in the STEADY U Ohio statewide falls prevention initiative.

One in three people age 65 and older fall each year. Falls are the leading cause of injury among older Ohioans and led to 1,490 deaths, 18,856 hospitalizations, and 75,091 emergency department visits in 2019. While many factors increase the risk of falling as we age, falling is not a normal part of aging and most falls can be prevented.

Created in 2015, 10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls engages individuals, organizations, and communities to host walking events and groups and share falls prevention resources. Thirty-seven groups, comprised of 1,598 participants, walked 18,301 miles in related events or groups — the equivalent of walking around the perimeter of Ohio 16 times.

Ohioans also participated by walking independently and posting pictures of themselves walking on social media with the hashtags #10MStepsOH and #PreventFalls. Individuals could also contribute by viewing four special webinars. The webinars were produced by the Ohio Department of Aging and its STEADY U Ohio partners, including Holmes County General Health District, Ohio Northern University, Area Agency on Aging Region 9, and FOX rehabilitation. The webinars are available for on-demand viewing at www.aging.ohio.gov/10millionsteps.

Tips to prevent falls from STEADY U Ohio:

• Get at least 15 minutes of simple exercise, like walking, each day. Eat a balanced diet and stay hydrated.

• Contact an area agency on aging (1-866-243-5678) to learn about balance and exercise programs in the local community.

• Ask a doctor or other health care provider for a falls risk assessment, including a review of whether any of the medications being taken may increase risk for falling.

• For those who have trouble walking or standing for long periods, get and use a cane or walker.

• Look around the home for falls risks, such as loose rugs, poor lighting, and clutter. Have grab bars professionally installed in bathrooms.

Find more falls prevention tips and resources at www.steadyu.ohio.gov.

2021 10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls Contributing Partners include 50 North, Altercare Coshocton, Area Agency on Aging 9, Area Agency on Aging District 7, Area Office on Aging of Northwestern Ohio, Bowling Green State University, Buckeye Hills Regional Council, Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley, City of Beavercreek, City of North Ridgeville, Office for Older Adults, City of Willoughby Senior Center, Clermont Senior Services, Coshocton Senior Center, Country Neighbor Program, Inc, Department of Development, Tourism Ohio, Direction Home Akron Canton Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities, Direction Home of Eastern Ohio, Fairhill Partners, Hamilton County Law Library, Kingston Mound Manor Residents, Meals on Wheels – Fairfield County, Nivalis Health, Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging, Ohio Department of Aging, Ohio Department of Development, Ohio Department of Veterans Services, Ohio District 5 Area Agency on Aging, Ohio Housing Finance Agency, Oxford Seniors, RecoveryOhio, Scripps Gerontology Center, Miami University, Stark County Board of DD, State Library of Ohio, The O’Neill Center, The Wesley Communities-Wesley Ridge, Wesley Glen and Wesley Woods at New Albany, Tipp City Seniors, Inc., Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare and Wallick Communities.