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September 18-22, 2023: Falls Prevention Awareness Week

WHEREAS, it is estimated that one fourth of citizens age 65 and older will fall each year; and,

WHEREAS, it is estimated that one out of five falls causes a serious injury such as a broken bone or a head injury; and,

WHEREAS, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults in the United States; and,

WHEREAS, falls account for 87.2 deaths per 100,000 adults aged 65 and older in Michigan in 2021 according to the CDC; and,

WHEREAS, falls can lead to depression, loss of mobility, and loss of functional independence; and,

WHEREAS, the financial toll for older adult falls is expected to increase as the population ages and may reach $101 billion nationally by 2030; and,

WHEREAS, during 2021 there were 1,542 fall-related deaths for Michigan residents, and 88.7% of these, or 1,367 deaths, occurred in adults aged 65 and older; and,

WHEREAS, 24,048 Michigan residents were hospitalized due to a fall in 2021, and 74.1% of these occurred in the 65 and older population; there were 198,794 emergency department visits among Michigan residents in 2021 due to a fall-related injury; and,

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

WHEREAS, evidence-based programs reduce falls by utilizing cost-effective strategies, such as exercise programs to improve balance and strength, medication management, vision improvement, reduction of home hazards, and fall prevention education. It is recommended that these practices be adopted as lifestyle changes early to reduce risk as one ages; and,

WHEREAS, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is working to increase awareness of this issue by tracking fall-related data, working with other partners in promoting multidisciplinary strategies to prevent falls, and encouraging older adults to take steps to decrease the risk of falling;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim September 18-22, 2023, as Falls Prevention Awareness Week in Michigan and call upon our citizens and interested groups to observe the week with appropriate activities that promote the awareness and prevention of falls.