National Falls Prevention Day is September 22, 2016, and we’ve marked the occasion by giving our Step Up to Stop Falls program a brand new look.
The new visual identity incorporates a vibrant color scheme with a trio of stick figures moving in an ascending direction. We’ve developed a suite of new materials to help establish this new identity across Western and Central New York. This includes a series of new posters, an information brochure, a self-assessment tool, and a user style guide.
One in three Americans over age 65 — more than 700,000 in all — fall every year, making falls the leading cause of injuries, deaths, hospitalizations and emergency room visits for older Americans. In fact, falling is a top reason that older adults are moved to institutional care, resulting in loss of independence. Research has also shown that those who fall have a greater chance of falling again, feeling less confident, becoming depressed or socially isolated and experiencing a loss of quality of life and physical function. Nationally, older adults are hospitalized five times more often for fall-related injuries than any other injury. Annual hospitalization charges in New York for fall-related injuries total $1.7 billion, while annual charges for outpatient emergency department treatment exceed $145 million.
However, research also reveals that many falls occur at or close to home, and are preventable. As a result, health and human service organizations across the U.S. have recognized the importance of making practical lifestyle adjustments to reduce the number of falls among seniors, and improve their length and quality of life.
The Health Foundation established the “Step Up to Stop Falls” collaborative in 2007. Since launching Step Up to Stop Falls, we’ve invested more than $3 million in prevention and awareness efforts, resulting in significant decreases in hospitalization rates due to unintentional falls for nearly all participating counties from 2007 to 2013.
“National Falls Prevention Awareness Day is an excellent opportunity for older adults, their children and primary caregivers to take stock of the various hazards around seniors’ homes,” said Health Foundation President Ann Monroe. “There are so many simple changes that can be made, from improving areas with poor lighting and removing loose rugs, to ensuring hallways, staircases and garages are free of clutter. Simple proactive steps can ensure that your family members stay safe and in their homes as long as possible.”
To learn more about how you can make your or your loved ones’ home safer from falls, including a home safety assessment checklist, professional screening and competency guides, visit www.hfwcny.org/program/step-stop-falls.