Department urges falls-prevention awareness

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Aging is calling upon community partners to help mark Sept. 22 as National Falls Prevention Awareness Day and raise awareness of things elders can do to minimize their risk of falling.

The department’s STEADY U Ohio initiative is asking community-based organizations, businesses, state and local government agencies, faith-based organizations and other interested partners to host local events inviting the community to help take “10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls” throughout September. “10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls” is a statewide campaign to get as many Ohioans of all ages as possible to walk at least one mile in the name of falls prevention.

“Falls impact more than just the person who fell,” said Stephanie M. Loucka, 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. Aging and fall prevention really are everybody’s business.”

Community partners can participate in “10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls” by hosting a one-mile (minimum) falls prevention awareness walk for their staff, partners and consumers on (or around) Sept. 22. Last year, events ranged from four or five participants to more than 1,200.

Potential venues include around a business or facility, indoor and outdoor walking tracks, YMCAs, community/state/metro parks, walking/bike paths, hiking trails, city sidewalks, malls and more.

Visit by Sept. 15 to register an event and download promotional and educational resources. Information about the event will be posted on the website and shared with media.

Report the total number of participants and miles walked.

Last year, 59 different organizations sponsored 55 community events. Statewide, more than 3,500 Ohioans walked approximately 6,800 miles. At an average of 2,500 steps per mile, that’s 17 million steps taken in the name of falls prevention.

One in three Ohioans over 60 will fall this year, and for many of them, that fall could be a life-changing event. The total estimated cost of falls (medical costs, work loss) is $646 million annually in Ohio, or $1.8 million each day.

Staff report