September 22, 2016: Falls Prevention Awareness Day

WHEREAS, it is estimated that over 15.8 percent of Michigan residents, more than 1.5 million people, are 65 years of age or older. Of this population, one out of every three fall each year. However, less than half inform their physician and falling doubles your chances of falling again; and,

WHEREAS, nationally more than 95 percent of hip fractures among adults ages 65 and older are caused by falls, that cause severe health problems and lead to reduced quality of life and premature death. Falls are also the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI); and,

WHEREAS, in 2013 the total direct medical costs of fall injuries for people 65 and older nationally, adjusted for inflation, was $34 billion. Direct costs do not account for the long-term effects of these injuries such as disability, dependence on others, lost time from work and household duties, as well as reduced quality of life; and,

WHEREAS, in 2014, each week on average, more than 17 adults age 65 and over died due to a fall, and another 272 were hospitalized in Michigan from a fall-related injury; and,

WHEREAS, the rate of unintentional fall deaths for Michigan residents age 65 and older increased by 17.7 percent between 2010 and 2014; and,

WHEREAS, falling, and the fear of falling, can lead to depression, isolation, diminished mobility, and loss of functional independence; and,

WHEREAS, the cause of falls is composed of multiple contributing factors including lack of strength in the lower extremities, problems with balance, the use of multiple medications, reduced vision, chronic health problems, and unsafe environments; and,

WHEREAS, injuries from falls are a largely preventable community health problem; and,

WHEREAS, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will continue to collect data to monitor incidents of fall injuries and deaths and to raise awareness of preventing falls that result in an injury; and,

WHEREAS, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and its partners will encourage residents to utilize community resources such as Area Agencies on Aging and programs like EnhanceFitness, Matter of Balance and other exercise programs designed to improve activity, energy and independence;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Rick Snyder, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim September 22, 2016 as Falls Prevention Awareness Day in Michigan.