- Written by Janis Merrell
- Published: 11 September 2020
Have Your Steps Counted Toward the 2.5 Million Statewide Step Goal
LifePath is celebrating Falls Prevention Awareness week and we’d love for you to join in! In an effort to raise awareness on falls prevention, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs would like to invite you to participate in the second annual 2.5 Million Steps to Prevent Falls.
One in four Americans aged 65+ falls each year.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- One in four Americans aged 65+ falls each year.
- Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
- Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.
- Falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 800,000 hospitalizations and more than 27,000 deaths.
- In 2015, the total cost of fall injuries was $50 billion. Medicare and Medicaid shouldered 75% of these costs.
- The financial toll for older adult falls is expected to increase as the population ages and may reach $67.7 billion by 2020.
Falls, with or without injury, carry a heavy quality of life impact. A growing number of older adults fear falling and, as a result, limit their activities and social engagements. This can result in further physical decline, depression, social isolation, and feelings of helplessness, according to the National Council on Aging.
However, falling is not an inevitable result of aging. Andi Waisman, M.S. Ed., Healthy Living Program Manager at LifePath, explains, “Everyone knows balance is important and it seems to decrease as we age. What everyone does not know is we can improve our balance by using it. If you don't use it, it gets worse and you increase your risk of falls.”
Our attitude affects our ability to prevent a fall. When we have attitudes like, “I can’t do much anymore,” or “I am better off just staying still than risking a fall,” it sabotages our efforts to prevent falls. Our fear of falling can be a self-fulfilling prophecy if we let it keep us from challenging our balance.
Managing medications, having our vision checked, clearing our house of fall hazards and avoiding risky behaviors like rushing to the phone or door or wearing shoes that don’t fit us well or offer little support are other important steps in preventing falls, but exercise is one of the most important tools.
Remember, most falls can be prevented—and you have the power to reduce your risk! Please join LifePath in supporting Falls Prevention Awareness week by improving your balance while counting your steps.