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Ohio Department of Aging Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 14, 2016

Join groups and individuals around the state in taking "10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls"

Falls Prevention Awareness Day event takes aim at epidemic of older adult falls

COLUMBUS - One in three Ohioans over age 60 will fall this year, and for many of them, that fall could lead to a life-changing injury or even death. However, falls are not a normal part of aging, and most falls can be prevented. To celebrate National Falls Prevention Awareness Day on Sept. 22 and to raise awareness of the many ways older Ohioans can minimize their risks, the STEADY U Ohio initiative is asking all Ohioans to help take "10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls."

"A single fall can change the life not only of the person who falls, but also his or her family members who may have to become caregivers for their loved one," said Director Loucka. "You probably know someone who has fallen, or maybe you have a falls story of your own. Join us to help prevent potential tragedies and give all Ohioans the opportunity to live 'Well Beyond 60.'"

Held statewide on Sept. 22 and throughout the month, "10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls" asks all Ohioans to walk at least one mile to help raise awareness of falls prevention. You can participate in one of three ways:

  1. Any time in September, take a one-mile walk and post a selfie of your efforts to social media using the hashtags #PreventFalls and #10MStepsOH. Posts will be counted toward the state's goal.
     
  2. Participate in a "10 Million Steps" event in your community. Dozens of community organizations have partnered with STEADY U Ohio to sponsor local walking events with information and resources to help you and your loved ones prevent falls. Visit www.steadyu.ohio.gov for the list of events.
     
  3. Organize co-workers, club members, sports teams, classrooms, neighbors, congregation members or other groups to host your own "10 Million Steps" group walk. Register your group at www.steadyu.ohio.gov.

"Regular physical activity, such as walking 15-30 minutes a day, is one of the most basic things you can do to reduce your risk of falling," said Stephanie M. Loucka, director of the Ohio Department of Aging, which operates the STEADY U Ohio initiative. "Walking strengthens muscles, improves balance and flexibility, and increases stamina. Further, when we walk together, we make valuable social connections."

Last year, more than 4,400 Ohioans walked approximately 5,300 miles statewide. At an average of 2,500 steps per mile, that's more than 13.2 million steps taken in the name of falls prevention.

Falls among older Ohioans have reached epidemic proportions; one in three older adults will fall this year, and falls are the leading cause of emergency room visits, hospitalizations and deaths among our elders. The good news is that falls are not a normal part of aging, and most falls can be prevented.

Basic things older adults can do to lower their risk of falls:

  • Engage in 15-30 minutes of simple exercise like walking or swimming every day.
     
  • Talk to your doctor about falls and your risk at every visit; talk about any recent falls.
     
  • Review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist for combinations that may increase your risk.
     
  • Get your hearing and vision checked at least annually; use eyeglasses and hearing aids as prescribed.
     
  • Stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet.
     
  • Examine your home for common slipping and tripping hazards and remove them.

Visit www.steadyu.ohio.gov for more falls prevention tips and resources designed for an array of audiences. While there, you can take an online falls risk assessment and learn about tai chi and "A Matter of Balance," community-based falls interventions available around the state.

About STEADY U Ohio - STEADY U Ohio is a comprehensive falls prevention initiative led by Governor John Kasich and the Ohio Department of Aging, and supported by Ohio government and state business partners to strengthen existing falls prevention activities, identify opportunities for new initiatives and coordinate a statewide educational campaign to bring falls prevention to the forefront of planning for individuals, families, health care providers, business and community leaders and all Ohioans. Visit www.steadyu.ohio.gov.

About ODA - The Ohio Department of Aging works to ensure that Ohio is on the leading edge of innovation in responding to the growing and changing aging population. We work with state agencies, area agencies on aging and other local partners to help integrate aging needs into local plans and ensure that aging Ohioans have access to a wide array of high-quality services and supports that are person-centered in policy and practice. Our programs include the PASSPORT Medicaid waiver, the long-term care ombudsman program, the Golden Buckeye Card and more. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov.

 

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