COLUMBUS - To mark National Falls Prevention Awareness Day on Sept. 22, and to raise awareness of the epidemic of falls among older Ohioans, the STEADY U Ohio initiative asked community organizations and individuals around the state to help take "10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls" throughout September. Communities responded, with 59 different organizations sponsoring 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.
"We are thrilled with the response of our new and existing community partners to help protect their neighbors and loved ones from the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations and deaths among older adults," said Stephanie M. Loucka, director of the Ohio Department of Aging, which operates the STEADY U Ohio initiative. "In 2014, 30.1 percent of Ohioans reported falling at least once, and more than one in ten sustained a falls-related injury. However, falls are not a normal part of aging and most falls can be prevented."
STEADY U Ohio, a coordinated, statewide falls prevention campaign, recruited community organizations around the state to organize local walking events involving from a few individuals to hundreds. Host organizations included local offices on aging, senior centers, health departments, nursing homes and assisted living facilities, malls, hospitals, fitness centers, public schools and more. Several of the events included local students ranging from elementary to college age. Individuals were also encouraged to walk on their own and post a selfie of their efforts to social media using the hashtags #PreventFalls and #10MStepsOH.
"For many older adults and their families, a single fall can be life-altering. '10 Million Steps' is about helping everyone recognize that each of us has a role to play in putting an end to this epidemic," Director Loucka added.
Find tips and resources to prevent falls for yourself or a loved one at www.steadyu.ohio.gov.
"10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls" Community Partners
Area Agency on Aging, PSA 2
Area Agency on Aging 3
Area Agency on Aging District 7, Inc.
Area Agency on Aging 8
Area Agency on Aging Region 9, Inc.
Area Agency on Aging 11, Inc.
Aultman Health Foundation
Belmont County Health Department
Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley
Cambridge Central Elementary School
Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging
Cincinnati State Career and Technical College Occupational Therapy Assistant Program
City of Ironton Health Department
Clermont Senior Services, Inc.
Cleveland Department of Aging
Community First Solutions - Elements
Community Partnership on Aging
Cottingham Retirement Community
Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio
Defiance County General Health District
Elmwood Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing of Fremont
Emerald-Pointe Health & Rehab
Erie County Older Adult Falls Coalition
Green Hills Community
Guernsey County Senior Citizens Center, Inc.
Holmes Co. General Health District- Injury Prevention Program
Indian Mound Mall
Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine
Kingston Mound Manor Residents Committee
Licking County Aging Program
Licking County Family YMCA
Logan County Health District
Medina County Senior Walk
Noble County Health Department/Home Health
Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation
Ohio Department of Aging
Ohio Department of Health
Ohio District 5 Area Agency on Aging
Ohio Health Care Association
Ohio Region 5 LTC Ombudsman Program
Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities
Oxford Seniors Master Games
Peter B. Lewis Aquatic & Therapy Center
Richwood Civic Center
Twinsburg Senior Center
United Seniors of Athens County, Inc.
Walk with a Doc
Welch Publishing Co.
Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging
Yellow Springs Senior Center
YMCA of Van Wert County
Facts about falls and older Ohioans:
- An older Ohioan falls every two minutes. Every five minutes, someone is injured in a fall.
- The number of fatal falls among older Ohioans has increased more than 167 percent since 2000.
- Older adults comprise 14 percent of our population, but account for 83 percent of fatal falls.
- The total cost of falls (medical costs, work loss) is estimated at $1.8 million every day.
How you can prevent falls
Decreased muscle mass, vision and hearing decline, medical conditions and joint pain are some of the age-related changes that can increase falls risks. However, minor changes to the three H's - home, health and habits - can offset these risk factors:
- Home: Remove or secure throw rugs; improve lighting especially near stairs; install grab bars in the bathroom; rearrange the home to make frequently used items easier to reach.
- Health: Ask your doctor about a falls risk assessment and talk about medicines you take and whether they increase your risk for falls; have your hearing and vision checked annually.
- Habits: Stay active to build muscle strength and improve balance; slow down and think through tasks; stay hydrated and eat a well-balanced diet that includes calcium-rich foods.
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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