COLUMBUS – The Ohio Department of Aging is calling upon community partners to help mark Sept. 22, as National Falls Prevention Awareness Day and help raise awareness of the many things our elders can do to minimize their risk of falling. The department’s STEADY U Ohio initiative is asking community-based organizations, businesses, state and local government agencies, faith based organizations and other interested partners host local events inviting the community to help take “10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls” throughout September.
“10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls” is a statewide campaign to get as many Ohioans of all ages as possible to walk at least one mile in the name of falls prevention.
“One in three Ohioans over age 60 will fall this year, and for many of them, that fall could lead to a life-changing injury,” said Stephanie M. Loucka, director of the department. “Falls impact more than just the person who fell. A fall can prevent an older worker or their caregiver from being at work, keep a valued customer from your business, or create strains on families and community supports. Aging and fall prevention really are everybody’s business.”
The total estimated cost of falls (medical costs, work loss) is $646 million annually in Ohio, or $1.8 million each day.
Community partners can participate in “10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls” by hosting a one-mile (minimum) falls prevention awareness walk for their staff, partners and consumers on (or around) Sept. 22, 2016. Last year, events ranged from four or five participants to more than 1,200. Events can help prevent falls and raise awareness, regardless of the number of participants.
Last year, 57 different organizations sponsored 57 community events. Statewide, more than 4,400 Ohioans walked approximately 5,300 miles. At an average of 2,500 steps per mile, that’s more than 13.2 million steps taken in the name of falls prevention.
Visit www.steadyu.ohio.gov for falls prevention tips and resources designed for an array of audiences. While there, take an online falls risk assessment and learn about “A Matter of Balance,” a community-based falls prevention program.