“This year’s partners for ’10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls’ were an exciting mix of new and experienced hosts, and brought with them a range of innovative ideas to help us achieve and surpass our goal in surprising ways,” said Stephanie M. Loucka, director of the Ohio Department of Aging, which operates the STEADY U Ohio initiative. “We thank each of them for raising awareness that falls are not a normal part of aging, and that most falls can be prevented.” Regular physical activity is one of the most basic things older adults can do to prevent falls, which is why walking is the focus of this annual event. Throughout September, and especially on Sept. 22, National Falls Prevention Awareness Day, 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. “The first step was to bring people together and jumpstart the conversation in our communities. Now, it’s time to build on that success by promoting proven strategies to prevent falls in our homes, our businesses and our communities, all year long,” Loucka added. While older adults make up about 16 percent of our population, they account for more than 85 percent of fatal falls. An elder is injured in a fall every five minutes on average, and two older Ohioans are hospitalized each hour. Sadly, three older Ohioans will die today because of a fall-related injury. Medical costs alone for falls in Ohio total $1.1 billion. Work loss and other expenses add another $800,000 to that bill. That breaks down to $5.2 million each day. This year’s “10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls” partners included area agencies on aging, senior housing providers and residents, hospital systems, local health departments, senior centers, state agencies, local school districts and more. Events and groups ranged in size from two people to more than 1,000. Participants were provided information about falls prevention and encouraged to visit the STEADY U Ohio website (www.steadyu.ohio.gov) for falls prevention tips and resources, including a falls risk self-assessment and information about “A Matter of Balance,” an evidence-based falls intervention available around the state. 2017 “10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls” Community Partners Age-Friendly Cleveland Area Agency on Aging 3 Area Agency on Aging 11 Area Agency on Aging District 7, Inc. Area Agency on Aging, PSA 2 Area Agency on Aging, Region 9 Area Office on Aging of Northwestern Ohio, Inc. Aultman Health Foundation Bethany Lutheran Village Blue Sky Therapy Buckeye Hills Regional Council Cardinal Retirement Village City of Ironton Health Department Clermont Senior Services Cleveland Senior Walk Community Partnership on Aging Conneaut City Health Department Coshocton Springs Health and Rehabilitation Center Cottingham Retirement Community Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio Erie County Health Department Fairhill Partners Fairview Assisted Living Foster Grandparent Program Genesis Trauma Services GoJo, Akron GoJo Medical, Miamisburg Guernsey County Senior Citizens Center Health Policy Institute of Ohio Hocking-Athens-Perry Community Action Holmes County General Health District Hunter Consulting Company Kendal at Home Kenton-Hardin Health Department Kingston Mound Manor Residents Licking County Aging Program Mercy Health- St. Vincent Medical Center Trauma Program MetroHealth System Northwestern Local Schools Ohio Department of Aging Ohio Department of Health Ohio Department of Medicaid Ohio Emergency Management Agency Ohio Health Care Association Ohio Northern University Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities Preble County Council on Aging Prime Time Center ProMedica Trauma Services Putnam County Council on Aging Seniors Together Welch Publishing Co. Yellow Springs Senior Center Miami Valley Career Technology Center 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: 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. 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. 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; enroll in a community-based falls prevention program, such as “A Matter of Balance.” About STEADY U Ohio –STEADY U Ohio is a comprehensive falls prevention initiative led by 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 .