DHSS Press Release
|Date: September 22, 2015
|Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498
TAKE A STAND TO PREVENT FALLS AMONG SENIORS
DOVER (Sept. 22, 2015) - "Help I've fallen, and I can't get up," isn't just a catchy TV commercial. It's a reality for one out of three seniors ages 65 and older. This age group is more prone than any other to experiencing falls, the most common cause of injury and injury-related death among senior citizens. To raise awareness about falls and fall prevention, the National Council on Aging designated September 23, the first day of Fall, as National Fall Prevention Day. In support of this nationwide healthy aging initiative, Governor Jack Markell has also proclaimed September 20-26 as Fall Prevention Awareness Week in Delaware.
The Delaware Coalition for Injury Prevention's Falls Prevention Team urges all Delawareans, especially older adults, to "take a stand to prevent falls" by adopting a few simple lifestyle strategies: stay active, eat healthy, have your eyes examined annually, review medications with your health care team, and make home safety improvements a priority.
Since 2010, an average of 1,740 falls per year that required hospitalization occurred within the senior population in Delaware. Each year, an average of 61 Delaware seniors die as a result of falls, according to the Delaware State Trauma System Registry. The most common cause of falls for Delaware seniors was slipping on throw rugs or tripping on objects on a flat surface.
Economically, falls cost an average of $20,000 per incident, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Falls also cost emotionally in terms of life changes, and physically in terms of pain and disability.
"No matter what your age, you can decrease your risk for falling and fall-related injuries through some simple proactive measures that will assist you in living a safer, healthier life," said Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay.
The CDC recommends the following fall prevention tips for people of all ages:
- Exercise regularly to build muscle tone and improve balance and coordination.
- Have your doctor or pharmacist review all the medicines you take, even over-the-counter medicines. Some medicines can cause sleepiness or dizziness.
- Visit the eye doctor at least once a year. Poor vision increases the risk of falling.
- Get up slowly after sitting or lying down.
- Wear shoes both inside and outside the house. Avoid going barefoot or wearing slippers.
- Use brighter light bulbs in the home. Add lighting to dark areas. Fluorescent bulbs are bright and cost less to use.
- Remove objects from the floor and stairs. Do not use throw rugs unless they have a non-slip backing. Remove cords and wires from walkways, or tape them.
- Make sure handrails are on both sides of the stairs and are as long as the flight of stairs.
- Paint a contrasting color on the top edge of all steps. For example, use light color paint on dark wood.
- Use a non-slip rubber mat or self-stick strips on the floor of tubs and showers.
- Have grab bars installed inside the tub and next to toilets.
Christiana Care Health System will observe Fall Prevention Day by setting up information tables outside its Christiana Hospital campus cafeteria on Sept. 23 from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. To arrange a senior falls prevention presentation at any time of year, contact the Christiana Care Trauma Center Injury Prevention Coordinator and Think First Program Coordinator, Kathy Boyer, MSN, RN at firstname.lastname@example.org or 302-733-4250.
Specialized classes at senior centers and other community organizations help older adults gain strength, improve balance, and build confidence to help them live healthier lives and preserve their independence. A Matter of Balance programs are offered in all three counties, and Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance is offered in New Castle County only at this time.
A Matter of Balance classes
New Castle County: Contact Susan Fox at 302-255-9690
Tuesdays: Sept. 1 - Oct. 20, 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
Tuesdays: Oct. 27 - Dec.15, 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
St. Francis Hospital
Tuesdays: Sept. 1 - Oct. 20, 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
Brandywine Town Center
Thursdays: Sept. 10 - Oct. 29, 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
Hockessin Recreation/PAL Center
Tuesdays: Sept. 22 - Nov.10, 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Claymore Senior Center
Mondays: Sept. 21 - Nov. 9, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
KENT COUNTY: Contact Rich Phillips at 302-834-9245
Modern Maturity Center
Mondays: Sept. 14 - Nov. 9, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
BayHealth/Kent General Hospital, Dover
Fridays: Aug. 7 - Sept. 25, 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.
Fridays: Oct. 2 - Nov. 20, 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.
Heritage of Dover
Mondays: Sept. 21 - Nov. 9, 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
Sussex County: Contact April Willey at 302-515-3025 (Classes in Sussex County are full at this time, but future classes will be offered.)
Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance classes
New Castle County: Contact Susan Fox at 302-255-9600
For more fall prevention information and resources, visit the National Council on Aging, Center for Healthy Aging at https://www.ncoa.org/center-for-healthy-aging/, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, or DPH's Office of Emergency Medical Services at 302-223-1350.
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.