Falls Prevention Awareness Day - September 22
Falls Prevention Awareness Day is on September 22 at the start of the fall season and it’s a very serious matter that we all need to be paying attention to. It’s the leading cause of injury-related emergency department visits and the day is used to address this public health issue. Falls can be more dangerous than they might seem. They can cause bruising, hip fractures, and head injuries, and these accidents have the potential to be fatal, especially for the elderly which means that they deserve extra attention to make sure they’re protected.
Falls: A Significant Public Issue
- Every year, more than 1 in 4 adults age 65 and above fall, resulting in 3 million emergency room admissions to treat fall injuries
- More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falls
- Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries
- Falls and their consequences cost the US healthcare system approximately $50 billion annually
- Falls account for $29 billion in Medicare spending and $9 billion in Medicaid spending
- Falls rates and health care spending are projected to rise as the older adult population estimated to increase by 55% by 2060
History of Falls Prevention Awareness
As people get older, many of their faculties begin to weaken. Eyesight becomes poorer, muscles deteriorate as does coordination. In 1972, Psychology professor Dibner saw a way to help the elderly during this phase of their life. Dibner came up with an idea for a personal emergency response system when they were injured and unable to get to a phone. They could use the device to call for help and in 1976 he was awarded the patent for Lifeline Systems.
Dibner’s invention took off. It gave the elderly the assistance they needed, and their loved ones a sense of relief knowing that they had direct access to medical services. In 1987, Life Alert was created by Isaac Shepher. This gadget could be worn as a necklace or a wristband with an automated dialer that connected to a telephone line. As more emergency response systems were created, they became more accessible, and they were able to help more people in need.
In the 1990s, Life Alert became known by everyone because of its memorable commercial. It showed an elderly woman that falls and uses the medical alert pendant by saying the catchphrase “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” which became famous. The brand visibility of this commercial helped get more of these devices into homes.
In 2007, four state falls prevention coalitions observed Falls Prevention Awareness Day on a state level. The next year, The Falls Free State Coalitions on Falls Prevention Workgroup requested that Falls Prevention Awareness Day be on the first day of fall. Since then, many states have come together to help solve the problem of public health issues related to fallen injuries by working with medical professionals and supporters.
Importance of Falls Prevention Awareness
It’s said that we are to judge a society by how it treats the weakest members. By that rationale, we need to be doing more for our elderly who are some of the most vulnerable people in our society. It speaks to our character as a nation and they deserve that respect.
If we don't prevent these falls, another is likely to happen, and it could be possibly fatal the next time. When an elderly person falls, the injuries that they sustain can limit their mobility afterward, making getting around that much more difficult. By helping to minimize the first one, we can lower these incidences.
Those that are advanced in age already have a limited time with us and we need to treasure every moment we have with them. By spreading awareness and ensuring that their health is protected gives us more of these moments to create cherished memories with our loved ones.
National Falls Prevention Awareness
Its purpose if to raise awareness about how to prevent falls and fall-related injuries among older adults through education, action, and advocacy. Historically, Falls Prevention Awareness Day was observed each year on the first day of fall, and started a full week dedicated to falls prevention in 2020.
Elevating the Role of Emergency Medical Services and Fire Departments
- Among people aged 65 and older, falls accounted for 17% of all 911 calls.
- More than one in five (21%) emergency 911 calls do not result in a transport to a hospital.
- Nearly 50% of lift-assist calls result in a second lift-assist call within two weeks.
- Utilization of EMS services for fall-related calls has substantial financial consequences to communities and decreases the availability of EMS to respond to more urgent needs.
What are the most common causes of falls?
Many things including lower body weakness, Vitamin D deficiency, difficulties balancing, use of medicines that affect cognitive abilities, vision problems, foot pain, and poor footwear are some of them.
What happens after a fall?
Injuries can range from minimal to severe and include broken bones, head injuries, and an increased fear of falling.
How do you support the cause?
You can donate at www.ncoa.org.
Observing Falls Prevention Awareness
Spend time with the elderly
Spend some time with an elderly person that you know and let them know that you’re there for them. Senior citizens can often feel like they’re a burden to their family and friends. Remind them that you’re there if they need anything and ensure that they’re taking care of themselves.
Celebrate with education-based activities
There are state and national activities that you can take part in. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) celebrates Falls Prevention Awareness Day with screening education, advocacy activities, and community-based falls prevention programs. Get informed and get active to spread awareness.
Become an activist for the elderly
There are small yet important things that can make life easier for the elderly. Look around your home and community and consider how they can be affected by the environment. Check for stairs without handrails, slippery bathtubs that could use mats, and uneven floors and bring them up to the proper parties to provide a safer space.