Falls Prevention Awareness Week is a nationwide effort to raise awareness on preventing falls and reducing falls risks, this year celebrated from Sept. 18-24. This important week highlights the value of the community and their role in falls prevention, thanks to toolkits and materials from the National Council on Aging (NCOA).
Falls are the leading cause of injury death and the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital trauma among those 65 years and older. In Washington State, the rate of unintentional fall-related deaths among this group increased by more than 30 percent between 2000 and 2019. In 2018, nearly a third of Washingtonians over 65 reported suffering an injury from a fall. These injuries, as well as untimely deaths stemming from falls, generate a lifetime cost of well over $1 billion to the health care system, according to figures from 2019.
What is even more tragic is falls are entirely preventable. By exercising regularly, reviewing medications with a health care provider, getting annual eye exams, and installing safety devices at home, older adults can keep themselves safer and live longer, healthier lives.
We invite you to help us recognize this week by sharing NCOA’s resources and reminding older adults to learn about their falls risk and whom they can contact for support. Falls continue to be a staple of WSHA’s safety and quality work, and we have many resources you can use in your facility to prevent falls.
WSHA Director, Safety & Quality