Community activities to prevent falls offered at several Michigan sites

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Sept. 22, 2017                                                      

CONTACT: Bob Wheaton, 517-241-2112                                                                                             

LANSING, Mich. – Today is Falls Prevention Awareness Day and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging residents to learn more about how to prevent falls – especially with slippery winter weather on the horizon.

A quick look at fall-related injuries:

  • Fall-related deaths are on the rise in Michigan.
  • Falls are not an inevitable part of growing older.
  • Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury for older Michiganders.
  • Falls are also the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries and injury-related hospitalizations for seniors.
  • Falls resulted in 804 deaths in 2015 for people aged 65 and older in Michigan, and 15,689 people of this same age group were hospitalized from fall-related injuries.
  • Falls among older adults cost the U.S. health care system more than $30 billion dollars, annually.

“By taking a few simple measures, falls can often be prevented,” said MDHHS Director Nick Lyon. “It’s important to make sure everyone takes the time to learn more about how they can protect themselves, as well as older friends and relatives.”

A combination of interventions can significantly reduce falls. Experts recommend a physical activity regimen with balance, strength training and flexibility components; consulting with a health professional about getting a fall risk assessment; having medications reviewed periodically; getting eyes and hearing checked annually; and making sure the home environment is safe and supportive.

Senior centers across the United States have evidence-based programs like Matter of Balance and Tai Chi which help older adults gain strength, improve balance, and increase confidence.

Local Area Agencies on Aging will have information on these programs in Michigan – visit www.michigan.gov/aging to find services.

For resources and tips about how to work with your healthcare provider to prevent falls, visit www.michigan.gov/injuryprevention. To locate falls-prevention classes through the Great at Any Age program, visit www.greatatanyagemi.com to see what is being offered near you.

More information is available through the National Council on Aging, and from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC also offers Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, & Injuries resources for health care providers at www.cdc.gov/steadi.

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