BANGOR — Falls remain the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injury for older Americans. In 2008, about 2.1 million nonfatal fall injuries in people 65 and older were treated in emergency departments, and more than 550,000 of these patients were subsequently hospitalized. By 2020, the annual direct and indirect cost of fall injuries is expected to reach $54.9 billion. This is why Rosscare is joining many other organizations across the nation today to raise awareness about fall prevention.
Cindy Smith, coordinator for Rosscare’s Lifeline, an emergency response button service, says, “We need to raise awareness of preventative measures that can keep seniors safe in Maine. Falls do not have to be a result of aging. By working with seniors to adopt healthy behaviors, stay active, have medications reviewed and ensure the proper safety modifications, tools and resources are in place, we are able to go a long way in keeping those that we care for safe.”
Rosscare also emphasizes the additional important strategies for fall prevention:
• Educate and train caregivers in methods to reduce falls and ask health care providers to assess all older patients for risk factors.
• Look for availability of physical activity programs offered by a certified instructor for seniors in the community.
• Regularly review safety in the home – make sure railings are secure, objects and rugs that can result in a trip or fall are removed, and ice and debris are removed from the entrance to the residence.
• Encourage all individuals to promote fall prevention in their communities.
Members of the community are encouraged to call Rosscare at 973-7094 if they are interested in learning more about fall prevention. Helpful resources also can be found by visiting the National Council on Aging’s Center for Healthy Aging website, www.healthyagingprograms.org. Fall Prevention Awareness Day is sponsored by the National Council on Aging, a nonprofit service advocacy organization in Washington, D.C.